A House Republican on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, adding to the swell of demands that he step down for his handling of the East Palestine train derailment and an ongoing probe into his use of private jets.
“Pete Buttigieg has shown that he is unfit to lead the Department of Transportation and must resign immediately,” said Mike Collins, R-Ga., on the House floor.
“From his first day in office, he has been more focused on diversity training and identity politics than on building and maintaining America’s transportation system,” Collins said. “He has abandoned his department’s mission of improving the safety, technology and efficiency of our infrastructure in favor of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.”
Collins said the East Palestine derailment revealed Buttigieg’s priorities, as it took him 10 days to respond to the incident. The derailment prompted a decision to conduct a controlled release of toxic chemicals in order to avoid a more dangerous explosion, but residents are still reporting health concerns.
“Buttigieg took 10 days to acknowledge this incident, and three weeks to show up and support the community,” Collins said. “As Ohioans fled their homes and worried about their health, the secretary of transportation was on TV whining about too many white people in construction industries.
“His policies have continuously put the wokes before the folks, and we are again seeing the consequences,” Collins said.
The train that derailed in Ohio was a Norfolk Southern train, and Collins said after another Norfolk Southern derailed over the weekend, he’s worried that companies are paying too much attention to diversity issues and not enough attention to safety. Collins also said the Biden administration is responsible for this shift in priorities.
“This administration’s focus on DEI is forcing private companies to rethink their goals, and one has to wonder: was Norfolk Southern DEI’s policies directing resources away from the important things like greasing wheel-bearings?” he asked. “This insanity must stop.”
Collins said a quick resignation from Buttigieg would allow the embattled secretary to “promote wokeness and take private jets on his own dime at his own time.”
Collins is one of 10 GOP cosponsors of a resolution calling on Buttigieg to resign. That resolution says Buttigieg’s “ineptitude has jeopardized the safety and prosperity of the American people,” and notes that he was “absent during a historical supply chain crisis when United States ports faced a record backlog of ships stranded off of United States coasts.”
It also reminds lawmakers of the “more than 15,000 flights” canceled under his watch in “the worst and most costly single airline operational disruption in the history of United States aviation.”
The Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.