A member of the House of Representatives is considering legislation to oust Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg over what conservatives call a lack of leadership in the aftermath of the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
The possible proposal was discussed by Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA) this week. Collins severely criticized the federal response to the crash that exposed residents and wildlife to dangerous chemicals.
He singled out Buttigieg, stating that “he just was bent on not going.” Collins called for the ousting of the cabinet official.
“The solution is… you get rid of Pete Buttigieg and get somebody in there that knows what they’re doing and what they’re talking about,” he said.
The House representative discussed what he described as a slow response time by the Department of Transporation, especially relative to the size of the “major catastrophe,” he said.
“Something like that garners the head of the department showing up,” he said.
Collins cited Buttigieg’s promotion of “woke culture,” which could be a reference to his discussing racial diversity in the building trades in February over the crash in the Ohio town.
.@SecretaryPete has failed the American people and should resign. The problem isn’t that we have too many white people in construction, it’s that we have one too many South Bend mayors at @USDOT. https://t.co/mi6lVIDjL3
— Rep. Mike Collins (@RepMikeCollins) February 28, 2023
Rep. Collins is not the only prominent conservative to call for the secretary to resign. Buttigieg received major criticism from local State Sen. Michael Rulli (R-OH).
On Capitol Hill, there is significant momentum lining up against Buttigieg’s leadership. A Republican-sponsored bill demands that the secretary resign. It was introduced by Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL).
The Florida Republican cites “waiting weeks to visit East Palestine” as well as “vacationing in Portuguese wine country” and references to major shipping and airline delays during Buttigieg’s tenure.
Waltz called for him to resign.
The transportation secretary did not receive high marks from many Republican lawmakers prior to the current crisis.
Many conservatives criticized the former Indiana mayor for using parental leave time during the height of the supply chain crisis in 2021. The secretary avoided aspects of his job including phone calls and public appearances during this period. During the same time, Buttigieg described himself as being available “24/7.”