Florida Senator Marco Rubio penned a letter to President Biden urging the resignation of Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Rubio’s letter follows the East Palestine, Ohio, toxic chemical burn after a train derailed earlier this month. Buttigieg and the Biden administration have been criticized for their lack of acknowledgment of the disaster.
“I write to urge you to request the immediate resignation of [DOT] Secretary Buttigieg, who has repeatedly demonstrated a gross level of incompetence and apathy that is detrimental to the safety and prosperity of the American people,” the Florida Senator wrote Friday.
Rubio criticized the DOT Secretary for downplaying and ignoring “crisis after crisis while prioritizing topics of little relevance to our nation’s transportation system.”
“It is painfully clear to the American people that Secretary Buttigieg has little regard for the duties of the Secretary of Transportation.”
Marco Rubio demands Pete Buttigieg resign. pic.twitter.com/agbN5PR2f2
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) February 17, 2023
“The circumstances leading up to the derailment point to a clear lack of oversight and demand engagement by our nation’s top transportation official,” Rubio continued, noting a “two-year long pattern” in Buttigieg’s resume as DOT Secretary, citing transportation disruptions in 2021, along with 2022’s rail strike among other instances.
“I do not have the confidence that Secretary Buttigieg is capable of keeping the American people safe,” he wrote, adding that Buttigieg has been criticized for allegedly using taxpayer funds to charter private jets, including for international travel. “Similar instances in previous administrations have led to resignations.”
“For two years, the transparency and accountability that you promised to obsessively uphold during your inauguration has been nowhere to be found,” the Florida Senator said of Biden. “The incompetence and failiure within your administration cannot continue to be ignored when Americans’ health and safety are at risk.”
“I hope you will change course in order to uphold your so-far-unmet promise to the American people by requesting the immediate resignation of Secretary Buttigieg.”
East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway fielded questions from residents during a Wednesday town hall and pointed out that Tuesday’s comments from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre were the only acknowledgment he had seen from the Biden administration.
“EPA is working hand in glove with the state of Ohio. … The administration has been in close touch with local officials to ensure that they have what they need and that their needs are being met,” Jean-Pierre said during a Tuesday press briefing.
They’ve been on the ground, on site, since February 4th. … And since February 4th, EPA has been leading air quality testing and supporting Ohio EPA with surface and groundwater testing. The National Transportation Security Board has also been on site for over a week to lead the investigation into the cause of the derailment. And the EPA will continue to conduct 24/7 air quality monitoring throughout the East Palestine community in the days to come.
“I know there has been questions about the water. EPA will continue to support Ohio EPA surface and groundwater sampling efforts to ensure drinking water is indeed safe,” Jean-Pierre concluded.