Pete Buttigieg Says He's 'Not Going Anywhere' amid Senate Speculation
Susan Walsh/AP Photo Pete Buttigieg
Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg says he's not "going anywhere" amid speculation that he could run for Senate — or president — in 2024.
Asked whether he plans to leave his role anytime soon, 41-year-old Buttigieg told Punchbowl News, "That's a decision that's also above my pay grade."
"I love this job and feel like we're right in the middle of the action ... I serve at the pleasure of the president, for the time being," he added. "That's how this works. Every political appointee accepts that. But look, I'm not planning on going anywhere because we are smack in the middle of historic work."
Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, came into his current role after an unsuccessful 2020 campaign for president, in which he placed fifth in the primaries before dropping out of the race and endorsing Joe Biden.
Mario Tama/Getty Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg at a 2020 Democratic presidential debate
Some have speculated the transportation secretary could launch a run for a Senate seat in Michigan that will be open following the retirement of Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, whose term ends in Jan. 2025.
In a statement issued to Politico last month, Buttigieg said he was "fully focused on serving the President in my role as secretary of transportation, and not seeking any other job."
Buttigieg's name has also been among those rumored to be mulling a run for the presidency in 2024.
Asked in a 2022 conference whether he ever planned to run for president, the former Naval officer said, "who knows," adding: "I think you run for an office because you notice something about the office, and something about yourself, and something about the moment that adds up."
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Buttigieg, who turned 41 last month, has had a busy couple of years since his presidential run.
In August 2021, he and his husband Chasten announced that they became parents. Since then, the couple has offered occasional glimpses into their lives as parents, including sharing sweet photos from the twins' outdoor birthday party on Instagram in August 2022.
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But he's also become a very public face of the Biden administration, often going viral for exchanges with Fox News hosts, such as one with Bret Baier earlier this month.
Asked by Baier whether a trip he took the Netherlands with his husband was reimbursed, Buttigieg said, "of course not," noting that the trip — which was to the Invictus Games — was with the presidential delegation.
"I led a presidential delegation to support American wounded warriors and injured service members [at] the Invictus Games, as has been tradition for many years," Buttigieg told Baier, The Advocate reported.
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Buttigieg then went on to note that the same trip had been taken by other administration members — and their spouses — in years past.
"Before me, it was the Secretary Army under President Trump who took that trip with his wife. Before that, it was Mrs. Trump, as First Lady, who went to the Invictus Games. Before that, Mrs. Obama did the same thing," Buttigieg continued.
"And, I guess, the question on my mind is, if no one's raising questions about why Secretary Esper and his wife led that delegation ... Then why is it any different when it is me and my husband?"