Fox News has learned that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who advocates for increased government action to combat carbon emissions, has taken at least 18 flights on taxpayer-funded private jets since taking office.
Buttigieg’s predecessor, Elaine Chao, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, faced criticism for using the same jets on seven occasions in 2017, costing taxpayers nearly $94,000.
Trump-appointed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign after reportedly taking 26 private jet flights that same year, costing taxpayers about $1.2 million.
“Everyday Americans face flight cancellations and long wait times because Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has completely mismanaged air travel,” said Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of government watchdog group Americans for Public Trust. “Yet, he gets to avoid all that by taking taxpayer-funded private jets to destinations with readily available commercial airline options.”
Buttigieg’s flights were taken across the country, including to Florida, Ohio, and New Hampshire, as well as out of the country, according to flight tracking data. The data aligns with Buttigieg’s schedule of external and public engagements obtained by Americans for Public Trust.
While the exact cost of Buttigieg’s flights is unclear, the FAA has charged federal agencies roughly $5,000 per hour to use its fleet.
“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,” Sutherland said. “This is hypocrisy at its finest, and these troubling expenses to taxpayers must come under immediate scrutiny.”
Buttigieg’s use of private jets is particularly hypocritical given his strong stance on climate change, according to Sutherland. She pointed out that many of the states Buttigieg visited have been considered swing states in recent federal elections.
When asked about his decision to travel to those states, Buttigieg said that Oklahoma isn’t a swing state and that “there was a great story” to tell about the infrastructure grant he was promoting there.
Despite Buttigieg’s use of taxpayer-funded private jets, Democrats continue to push for a “green” agenda and increased government action to combat climate change. Critics argue that Democrats’ actions do not match their rhetoric and call for accountability from politicians on both sides of the aisle.