Flight records reveal United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has taken flights on taxpayer-funded private jets while pushing to ease carbon emissions.
Buttigieg has taken at least 18 flights using a private jet fleet managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and paid for by the American taxpayer to multiple states, including Florida, Ohio, and New Hampshire, since being a part of President Joe Biden’s cabinet, according to records obtained by the government watchdog group Americans for Public Trust (APT) and first reported by Fox News.
Flight records obtained by the government watchdog group showed that Biden’s transportation secretary’s flight records also align evenly with his external and public engagements schedule. The report noted that the “exact taxpayer cost of Buttigieg’s flights is unclear.” Still, the Washington Post reported that the FAA charges federal agencies roughly $5,000 an hour to use the private jet fleet.
🚨 REPORT: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, an advocate of the ESG agenda in the US, has taken at least 18 taxpayer-funded private jet flights since taking office, according to flight tracking data we obtained.
via @ThomasCatenacci at @FoxNews https://t.co/hmMhYSkKG3
— Americans for Public Trust (@apublictrust) December 12, 2022
Of course, this comes after multiple former President Donald Trump appointees also came under scrutiny for using private jets. Trump Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned after reportedly taking 26 private jet flights, costing taxpayers about $1.2 million.
The report explained that Buttigieg had used two taxpayer-funded Cessna 560XL jets that the FAA manages for trips to states including Nevada, Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, and New Hampshire to promote public works projects and highlight grants that were authorized under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Buttigieg also reportedly used the FAA’s jet for a trip to Montreal so he could attend the International Civil Aviation Organization conference. However, while on his Montreal trip, he also went to a ceremony hosted by a Canadian gay rights organization so he could receive an award for his “contributions to the advancement of LGBTQ rights.”
A transportation department spokesperson told Fox News:
Secretary Buttigieg mostly travels by commercial airline, and has directed that travel and logistical decisions be grounded in efficient and responsible use of taxpayer dollars. … Given that commercial air travel is usually the cheapest way for the Secretary and his staff to travel, 108 of the 126 flights for DOT trips he has taken have been on commercial airlines.
However, there are some cases where it is more efficient and/or less expensive for the Secretary and accompanying personnel to fly on a 9-seater FAA plane rather than commercial flights. … Use of the FAA plane in limited, specific cases has helped to maximize efficiency and save thousands of taxpayer dollars.
The spokesperson did not seem to share how much money the transportation department apparently saved by taking private jets instead of commercial flights. As Fox News noted, Price was ultimately pressured to resign because he used the government’s jets for trips that included both personal and professional use.
Fox News explained:
Federal law requires that official travel be done using the most expeditious means of transportation “practicable” and “commensurate with the nature and purpose” of said official’s duties. Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, told Politico in 2017 that federal regulations also state that “taxpayers should pay no more than necessary” for official transportation.
Private jet travel, though, is by far the most carbon intensive mode of transportation. Private jets are 10 times more carbon intensive than commercial planes and 50 times more carbon intensive than trains, according to a 2021 report from the group Transport & Environment.
This all comes as the Biden administration, specifically Buttigieg, has pushed for the country to take action against climate change and has pushed to reduce fossil fuel emissions. The transportation secretary has claimed that lives “are going to be destroyed” due to the “worst effects of climate change” and has called for the U.S. to be at net-zero emissions by 2050.
After the transportation department released a “climate adaptation and resilience plan” in October 2021 as a part of Biden’s “whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis,” Buttigieg said:
The climate crisis is here today, threatening Americans’ lives and livelihoods, our homes and businesses, and even the way we travel and operate our federal agencies. The good news is that we know what to do about it, and America is fully capable of rising to the occasion. While we work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the worst outcomes of climate change, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s plan will help ensure that our transportation infrastructure, policies, and programs will be more resilient to the climate impacts already facing our country. Thanks to the leadership of President Biden, we now have a government-wide strategy to protect our people and way of life from the threat of climate change. [Emphasis added.]
In November 2021, he also attended the United Nations climate summit where he said aviation is a “significant contributor to climate change” and pushed for decarbonization policies when he was in climate negotiations with other countries.
A pleasure to speak with President @BarackObama here at #COP26. From the Paris Climate Agreement to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and beyond, we must respond to a new generation’s call for climate action by presenting a true roadmap for change. pic.twitter.com/qsh2ATXciQ
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) November 10, 2021
“Every day Americans face flight cancellations and long wait times because Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has completely mismanaged air travel,” APT Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland told Breitbart News. “Yet, he gets to avoid all that by taking taxpayer-funded private jets to destinations with readily available commercial airline options.”
Everyday Americans face flight cancellations and long wait times because @SecretaryPete has mismanaged air travel…
Yet, he gets to avoid all that by taking taxpayer-funded private jets to destinations with readily available commercial airline options.https://t.co/hmMhYSkKG3
— Americans for Public Trust (@apublictrust) December 12, 2022
“And for someone so holier-than-thou on reducing emissions, Buttigieg sure doesn’t seem to mind the pollution caused by his literal jet-setting. This is hypocrisy at its finest, and these troubling expenses to taxpayers must come under immediate scrutiny,” she added.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.