Transportation Secretary Buttigieg reportedly on a ritzy European vacation while costly rail strikes loomed

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg reportedly vacationed in Portugal and phoned it in as the nation teetered on the brink of a crippling rail strike in September, posting a video that suggested he was in the US instead.

(Video Credit: The Daily Mail)

The romp in the sun and sand occurred between August 29 and Labor Day, according to a statement by the Department of Transportation that was given to the Daily Mail.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation claimed that Buttigieg was “traveling on personal time” but was “engaged on urgent issues.” Then came the old standby that the trip had been “long planned” in advance. Considering the strike could have brought the nation to its knees, rescheduling the vacation would have been prudent.

Buttigieg was just called out for taking no less than 18 flights on taxpayer-funded private jets since joining the Biden administration, despite leading calls to cut CO2 emissions.

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting that the transportation secretary was vacationing in Porto, Portugal. It’s a ritzy, tourist destination on the European country’s coast and is known for its wine production.

President Biden and the White House eventually had to step in over the rail threat to stave off a strike that would have cost the US economy billions of dollars a day and would have brought the nation to a standstill.

Biden announced a tentative deal the week after Buttigieg returned home. Despite being rejected by a number of unions that were involved, the agreement was forced on rail workers by an act of Congress and signed into law by the president in December.

Buttigieg posted a video of himself on September first while he was still in Portugal that made it appear that he was in a US airport. He even dressed in a suit for the clip. He proceeded to crow about the Transportation Department’s new Airline Customer Service Dashboard. He asserted that it provides more transparency concerning cancellations and delays in travel.

“For the first time, you can go to our website and compare airline practices all in one place,” Buttigieg states in the video.

“The Secretary took a long-planned personal trip from August 29th to September 5th,” a spokesperson told the Daily Mail which indicates that the video was made in Portugal, not the US.

“As usual, while traveling on personal time he remained available and engaged on urgent issues, which in this case meant multiple calls with staff and stakeholders to work on the topic of rail labor negotiations,” they said, giving cover to Buttigieg.

“Overall, the Secretary’s work toward helping successfully prevent a rail shutdown included dozens of calls and meetings between April and December,” they added, but the fact remains that Buttigieg could not be bothered to cancel his vacation in favor of avoiding a rail strike. His priorities are clear.

The week after Buttigieg returned home, Amtrak began canceling long-distance trips in preparation for an expected strike. Since the railroad unions were forced into a contract, that emergency was averted.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who voted against the rail contract and has urged Republicans to capitalize on the administration’s failed negotiations, called Buttigieg’s decision to fly to Portugal “a joke.”

“Pete Buttigieg will take paid vacation in Europe for days on end but doesn’t think rail workers should get more than one day of sick leave,” Hawley said referring to the imposed rail contract.

“This is the same guy who took months of paid leave at the height of the supply chain crisis,” he added according to the Washington Free Beacon. “If rail workers showed up for work as rarely as Buttigieg does, the country would fall apart.”

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