Joe Biden picks Pete Buttigieg to be transportation secretary

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Pete Buttigieg to be his transportation secretary, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN, elevating the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to a top post in the federal government.

Posted: Dec 15, 2020 6:59 PM
Updated: Dec 16, 2020 12:49 PM

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Pete Buttigieg to be his transportation secretary, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN, elevating the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to a top post in the federal government.

Buttigieg would be the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary should his nomination make it through the chamber.

The choice -- which represents the first time the President-elect has called on one of his former Democratic presidential opponents to join his administration as a Cabinet secretary -- vaults a candidate Biden spoke glowingly of after the primary into a top job in his incoming administration and could earn Buttigieg what many Democrats believe is needed experience should he run for president again.

The role of transportation secretary is expected to play a central role in Biden's push for a bipartisan infrastructure package.

Buttigieg is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party but someone who lacked an obvious path to higher elected office given the continued rightward shift of his home state of Indiana.

As a presidential candidate, he rolled out a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that prioritized upgrading the country's crumbling infrastructure and expanding broadband internet access through payment to state and local governments. Buttigieg often spoke about infrastructure on the campaign trail from the perspective of a small mayor, arguing that local governments like the one he once ran needed people in Washington who understood their needs and issues.

Infrastructure reform had been a priority of Trump's earlier in his four years in office, but if routinely took a back seat to other issues.

Buttigieg often faulted the administration for failing to do anything on infrastructure, writing in his plan on the issue that the Republican President's team was "incapable of keeping its promise to pass major infrastructure legislation, and critical projects around the country are stalled because of it."

Buttigieg emerged as the leading candidate for the transportation secretary role in recent days. The former mayor was considered for a host of other posts, including US ambassador to the United Nations and commerce secretary.

Other Democrats were also considered for the post, including former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.

Buttigieg mounted a stout presidential campaign in 2019 and 2020, despite starting with very little national recognition or political experience. The former mayor narrowly won the Iowa caucuses, becoming the first gay presidential candidate in American history to win primary delegates from a major party. He ended his campaign shortly before Super Tuesday in March, after his path to victory had clearly closed following a poor showing in South Carolina.

Although Buttigieg and Biden enjoyed a mostly friendly relationship during the primary, the Biden campaign did put out a mocking digital ad that diminished the former mayor's experience, including the work he did to revitalize downtown South Bend.

"When President Obama called on him, Joe Biden helped lead the passage of the Affordable Care Act," the narrator of the ad said. "And when parkgoers called on Pete Buttigieg, he installed decorative lights under bridges, giving citizens of South Bend colorfully illuminated rivers."

Still, after ending his presidential campaign, Buttigieg endorsed Biden and spent much of the general election headlining fundraisers and events for the former vice president.

Biden praised Buttigieg at a March event in Dallas, comparing him to his late son Beau Biden.

"I know that may not mean much to most people, but to me it's the highest compliment I can give any man or woman," Joe Biden said at the time.

Prior to running for president, Buttigieg had served as the mayor of South Bend since 2012. He did not seek reelection in 2019.

During his tenure as mayor, Buttigieg in 2014 deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence officer. Prior to running for office, Buttigieg was a consultant at McKinsey & Company in Chicago.

Buttigieg came out as gay in a 2015 essay for the South Bend Tribune while serving as mayor. Later that year, Buttigieg won reelection.

His expected nomination is a historic moment for LGBTQ Americans. Advocacy groups had been pressuring the Biden transition to make history and nominate an LGBTQ American to a top Cabinet post.

Buttigieg often spoke about being gay on the campaign trail and for many LGBTQ Americans, he became a symbol of progress and his marriage to Chasten Buttigieg and presidential campaign normalized being gay and married in presidential politics.

"Being married to Chasten has made me a better man," Buttigieg said of his husband in 2019. And he used their marriage, which just years ago would have been illegal, to fault Republicans like Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, who has a long history of comments of opposing same-sex marriage.

"And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has made me closer to God," Buttigieg said. "If you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."

This story has been updated with more details on Buttigieg's background.

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to reflect that Buttigieg is the first of Biden's former Democratic presidential opponents to join the incoming administration as a Cabinet secretary.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1380370

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1534461574
Cuyahoga1354332341
Hamilton984041326
Montgomery677001161
Summit566391051
Lucas51349869
Butler47858663
Stark42048983
Lorain31922539
Warren30328338
Mahoning27315643
Clermont25897297
Lake24746422
Delaware22501147
Licking20701246
Fairfield20658223
Greene20527275
Trumbull20127516
Medina20006290
Clark18086332
Richland16602236
Portage16305231
Wood15869209
Allen14257261
Miami13963261
Muskingum12858155
Wayne12126244
Columbiana11896242
Tuscarawas11103271
Marion10865150
Pickaway10580129
Scioto10477127
Erie9822171
Ross9566177
Lawrence8886125
Hancock8567143
Ashtabula8423187
Geauga8226156
Belmont8221188
Jefferson7635175
Huron7507131
Union740751
Washington7334126
Athens705965
Sandusky6925135
Darke6853137
Knox6762122
Seneca6496137
Ashland6035115
Auglaize593188
Shelby5796104
Brown572972
Mercer563690
Defiance5538101
Crawford5530117
Madison549371
Highland548082
Fulton539583
Clinton532081
Logan516987
Preble5058111
Putnam4876107
Guernsey480664
Williams466482
Perry459054
Champaign452264
Ottawa441384
Jackson432963
Pike397045
Morrow393851
Coshocton386669
Fayette381753
Adams366875
Hardin363970
Gallia352858
Holmes3297111
Henry328869
Van Wert318871
Hocking308070
Wyandot284558
Carroll265452
Paulding245143
Meigs220242
Monroe191949
Noble172942
Morgan169429
Harrison160041
Vinton140619
Unassigned05
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