U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s attempt at humor went off like a lead balloon as he ignited criticism over a joke he made about the supply chain.
With a looming supply and product shortage crisis in the U.S. weeks before the Christmas holiday, Buttigieg’s ill-timed remarks making light of a serious situation earned him plenty of backlash Wednesday, including from the Republican National Committee.
“I think there have always been two kinds of Christmas shoppers,” the Democrat said during a CNN interview. “There’s the ones who have all their list completed by Halloween, and then there’s people like me who show up at the mall on Christmas Eve…if you’re in that latter bucket, obviously there’s going to be more challenges.”
The former Indiana mayor was speaking on the shortages being sparked by the ongoing crisis as container ships sit stranded at ports with goods unloaded, waiting for trucks to deliver products. The RNC called Buttigieg out for making a “joke about how difficult it will be for families to get Christmas presents this year.”
Between mandates and crumbling supply chains, the Biden admin actually seems determined to cancel Christmas. https://t.co/iMEVuI99l6
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) October 14, 2021
“Between mandates and crumbling supply chains, the Biden admin actually seems determined to cancel Christmas,” chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, tweeted.
President Biden attempted to address the supply chain problems on Wednesday as he announced plans to get goods moving, including keeping the Port of Los Angeles open “24 hours a day, seven days a week.” Republicans and other critics feel it is too little, too late and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., mocked Buttigieg’s ability to handle the task.
“The White House is saying that that’s you’re probably not going to be able to get everything you want for Christmas,” he told “Fox New Primetime.”
“Well, I mean, who’s going to save Christmas for Americans? Pete Buttigieg? I mean, please. Pete Buttigieg couldn’t organize a one-car funeral. He’s not going to organize our nation’s ports and railroads and highways and airports,” he added.
Conservative columnist Joe Concha addressed Buttigieg’s inexperience in an op-ed published Wednesday in The Hill, calling out the “Amateur Hour” as Buttigieg was a virtual unknown when he appeared on the political scene and is now being tested by his first real crisis, the supply chain failure.
Concha found it a bit strange that the Biden administration would choose the former Democratic presidential hopeful as the secretary of the Department of Transportation which oversees more than 58,000 employees and has a whopping budget of $87 billion.
“After a quiet first nine months in office, the former mayor has his first crisis on his hands: a massive supply-chain breakdown exploding across the country that will impact every American, particularly the lower and middle classes. Restaurants, stores and small businesses that provide products and services to people will all be negatively affected as the cost to the consumer goes up,” Concha wrote at The Hill.
Even the Washington Post is ringing alarm bells over the supply chain, “Ships wait off the California coast, unable to unload their cargo. Truckers are overworked and overwhelmed, often confronting logjams. Railyards have also been clogged, with trains at one point backed up 25 miles outside a key Chicago facility.”
“One major reason this is happening is a shortage of workers to get cargo off of these ships, and another shortage of truck drivers to transport them where they need to go. A worker shortage has been a common theme throughout the first 10 months of the Biden era, where no one in the administration – including Labor Secretary Marty Walsh – has any good answers as to why it is happening,” Concha added.
He went on to point out that the media isn’t even really paying attention to Buttigieg’s responsibility for the supply chain. They seem to be more interested in his parenting skills and political future.
“As you can see, almost all outlets are focusing on Buttigieg’s foray into fatherhood and not on the one major issue he’s in charge of fixing, or at least getting under some semblance of control, as cargo ships continue to pile up off the coast of America’s port cities,” the conservative pundit noted.
“But let’s say the Biden infrastructure plan – which contains a majority of items that the administration calls ‘human infrastructure,’ to the tune of trillions of dollars of additional spending while core inflation is already at a 30-year high – doesn’t pass. What is Buttigieg doing ‘right now’ to address the crisis?” Concha asked.
(Video Credit: Fox Business)
Concha went on to explain that the White House has set up a task force on the supply chain issue and he quoted Buttigieg stating, “Look, this is obviously an incredibly complicated situation that we’re talking about. We’re talking about global supply chains. And it’s mostly private-sector systems. But we have a big role to play, and that’s why we’ve been convening all of the different players … held roundtables, bringing together everyone connected to the ports.”
“The Washington-speak is impossible to ignore: We’ve ‘set up a task force,’ we’ve ‘held roundtables.’ It’s reminiscent of Vice President Kamala Harris attempting to tackle the border catastrophe using a similar approach that sounded nice but did little to nothing to address the problem. As a senator, Harris once cited critics who compared the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to the KKK, while arguing that entering the country illegally should be legalized. So of course she was just the person to choose to fix a catastrophe on the border that will see more than 2.3 million migrants entering the country illegally, a number equal to the population of America’s fourth-largest city,” he stated.
Concha also recalled how Biden made fun of his transportation secretary’s lack of experience in 2020 before hiring him as a thank you for dropping out and endorsing him for president.
“Qualifications? Who needs them?” Concha asked.
“Buttigieg is beloved by many in the American press for a variety of reasons, including because he checks off many boxes in the sizzle department,” Concha concluded in his opinion piece. “But chief among them is not his experience with supply chains, small business, Big Labor or transportation. Mayor Pete may be a presidential candidate again one day. That is, if he somehow navigates a crisis in which he’s clearly in over his head.”
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