A majority of Americans want Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to resign over the response to the Feb. 3 railway crash in East Palestine, Ohio, according to a recent poll.
According to Rasmussen Reports, 51% of the American public wants Buttigieg to step down, while 36% want him to stay. In addition, 41% of the public believes that the secretary is doing a worse job than his predecessors.
"Should Buttigieg resign as a result of how the Transportation Department handled the recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio?"
All Voters: 51%
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) March 14, 2023
The secretary did not address the crash or the resulting contamination of the area around East Palestine for almost two weeks following the derailment.
The crash of the Norfolk Southern train resulted in a spill of dangerous chemicals and was followed by a controlled burn that sent plumes of dark smoke into the air. Tens of thousands of animals are estimated to have died following the derailment of 50 train cars.
The secretary did visit the site three weeks following the incident. This visit followed former President Trump’s arrival in the area and distribution of needed food and water to residents. Buttigieg used an expletive to describe criticism of his delayed visit, especially regarding whether his trip was tied to that of the former president.
Buttigieg lashed back at critics, and told CNN in an interview that “sometimes people need performative work.”
The recent news comes after considerable criticism of the cabinet secretary. Buttigieg was criticized for what was perceived by many conservatives as a delayed response to the affected area. Many residents also back the idea of Buttigieg stepping down.
Buttigieg was the center of a number of controversies during his two years as the head of the Department of Transportation. During the height of the supply chain crisis, the former South Bend, Indiana mayor took paternity leave, including missing public events and phone calls.
The secretary was on leave for about two months in 2021 during a time of soaring consumer prices. Buttigieg countered that he remained available “24/7” during that period.
The secretary is also under investigation by the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General for the use of at least 18 private jet flights funded by taxpayers, even when military or commercial options were available for the cabinet secretary.