Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has flown on the taxpayer’s dime on private jets 18 times since taking office in January 2021, according to a report by The New York Post.
The report found Buttigieg flew to Nevada, Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Montreal on various trips using two Cessna 560XL jets managed by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to flight tracking data obtained by watchdog group Americans for Public Trust.
While the cost of the flights was not publicly reported, The Washington Post has reported that jets like these often cost around $5,000/hour. Assuming each flight took an average of two hours, Buttigieg’s 18 flights would cost approximately $180,000.
Former cabinet members have also faced scrutiny for private jet usage in 2017. Former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao cost taxpayers about $94,000 for seven trips, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price cost taxpayers $1.2 million for 26 trips.
Buttigieg is not only showing a reckless disregard for taxpayers’ money but is also contradicting his stances on green energy. While he publicly espouses electric vehicles and public transportation to curb climate change, he’s been flying in gas guzzling private jets.
Buttigieg has defended his trips, with a spokesperson saying that most of his travel is by commercial airplanes, adding that, “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,” according to The Post.
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