Massive Setback For President Joe Biden After Pete Buttigieg’s Announcement

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

As President Joe Biden continues to insist he will run again for the Oval Office in 2024, he also continues to garner less and less support not only nationally, but in Congress. Biden recently nominated Phillip Washington to be the head of the Federal Aviation Administration. Washington is the CEO of Denver International Airport.

“Phillip A. Washington was nominated by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and unanimously confirmed by the Denver City Council as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Denver International Airport. Prior to this, Washington was the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). At Metro, Washington managed a budget of more than $8 billion and oversaw 11,000 employees that transported 1.2 million boarding passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean-air buses and six rail lines. Washington also previously served as the CEO of Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) and worked as the Assistant General Manager of RTD for nearly 10 years before being named CEO,” The White House said in announcing his nomination in July.

“Originally from the South Side of Chicago, Washington is a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Army, where he held the rank of Command Sergeant Major. He retired from active duty, is a disabled veteran, and was awarded the prestigious Defense Superior Service Medal for exceptional service to his country. He holds a B.A. in Business from Columbia College, and an M.A. in Management from Webster University,” it said.

But Biden’s nominee to head the Federal Aviation Administration has now withdrawn after receiving shaky support in the Senate. Washington appeared to not have the support in the Senate, even with a Democrat majority, to be confirmed, The Associated Press reported.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced that Washington had withdrawn his nomination in a tweet on Saturday. “The FAA needs a confirmed Administrator, and Phil Washington’s transportation & military experience made him an excellent nominee. The partisan attacks and procedural obstruction he has faced are undeserved, but I respect his decision to withdraw and am grateful for his service,” he said.

The Associated Press reported.

Republicans were united in opposition to Washington, calling him unqualified because of limited aviation experience. Democrats and allied independents still might have pushed the nomination through, but key senators on their side balked at supporting Biden’s pick.

Washington’s fate appeared settled when Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., abruptly called off a scheduled vote last Wednesday — a sign that she lacked enough votes to move the nomination out of committee. She said some senators wanted more information about Washington.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who was a Democrat until switching to independent in December, and moderate Democrat Jon Tester of Montana declined to say how they would have voted. A person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Sinema was holding up the nomination and had indicated her opposition. The person was not authorized to discuss the process publicly and insisted on anonymity.

The failure of Biden’s nominee for the FAA is not the only problem for Buttigieg lately.

In February a National Transportation Safety Board official pushed back on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg after he appeared to blame former President Donald Trump for the derailment of a train in East Palestine, Ohio, that led to a massive environmental disaster. Buttigieg had responded to Trump’s visit to the town bringing water, cleaning supplies, and food.

“We’re not afraid to own our policies when it comes to raising the bar on regulation. I’ve got to think that him indicating that this is something that everybody, no matter how much you disagree on politics and presidential campaigns, can get behind — higher fines, tougher regulations on safety, Congress untying our hands on breaking rules, all the other things that go with that — that would be a nice thing for him to do,” Buttigieg continued.

In a subsequent interview with far-left MSNBC host Joy Reid, the transportation chief continued to point fingers at Trump, saying his deregulation of railroads was the cause of the accident, ignoring the fact that railroad companies are responsible for the safety of their trains, whether the government has imposed regulations or not.

But NTSB chairwoman Jennifer Homendy begged to differ, telling a press conference that the onus is on the rail company, Norfolk Southern, not “politics” or a rule regarding certain brakes that was loosened during Trump’s term, Conservative Brief reported.

“The wheel bearing failed on car number 23. So even with ECP brakes, the derailment would have occurred. Enough with the politics on this. Enough with the politics. I don’t understand why this has gotten so political,” she said. “This is a community that is suffering. This is not about politics. This is about addressing their needs, their concerns. That’s what this should be about. What I care about is caring for them. What I care about is figuring out how this happened.


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