Pete Buttigieg says Ron DeSantis won’t return his calls

DeSantis Buttigieg
The Transportation Secretary said he needs to talk trains.

In an interview with TIME Magazine, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he can’t reach Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis even about major transportation issues.

“I’ve never heard from this Governor, and it’s not because I’ve never called him. We’ve never spoken,” Buttigieg told TIME.

However, Buttigieg said the relationship between the U.S. and Florida Departments of Transportation remains healthy.

“What I will say is we’ve done a lot of good work with the Florida Department of Transportation,” Buttigieg said. “We try to work around and through all that to just get stuff done. A huge amount of energy and effort is being wasted in these dumb fights. And that’s really unfortunate. It’s policy waste in order to achieve political benefit or perceived political benefit.”

Buttigieg notably has leveled criticism at DeSantis over non-transportation-related issues, as has his husband, Chasten Buttigieg.

When President Joe Biden picked Buttigieg as a part of his administration, the Indiana Democrat became the first openly gay man ever appointed to a federal Cabinet post. As such, he has frequently commented on LGBTQ issues nationwide.

He told CNN a parental rights legislation signed by DeSantis, a law derided by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, was dangerous. “It tells youth who are different or whose families are different that there is something wrong with them out of the gate,” he said last year.

But regardless of policy disagreements, Buttigieg said there are important infrastructure matters he would like to discuss directly with DeSantis. For example, he specifically referenced a high-speed rail project intended to connect Tampa and Miami, with stops in Orlando.

While the U.S. Transportation Department has provided $31 million to Brightline during Buttigieg’s tenure, including $16 million for a Tampa-Orlando leg, DeSantis said the state could lose out on substantial federal funding if it does not comply with deadlines.

But he said DeSantis is prioritizing culture wars and his presidential campaign.

“He’s more worried about Bud Light or Disney or whatever,” Buttigieg said.

Of note, Buttigieg has held presidential ambitions himself, running for the Democratic nomination in 2020 before dropping out and endorsing Biden. While Buttigieg isn’t expected to challenge his boss for the nomination in 2024, he’s a prospective contender in 2028 whether Biden wins or loses his re-election bid. This potentially could set up Buttigieg and DeSantis as direct political foes.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Earl Pitts American

    June 14, 2023 at 11:43 am

    Good afternoon Pete,
    I,m sorry but my beautiful wife “Real/Lady” Earline Pitts American wont allow me, Earl Pitts American to consort with known homertesticals.
    I hope you understand
    Earl Pitts “He/Him” American

    • Earl Pitts American

      June 14, 2023 at 11:48 am

      Oh wait my bad Pete,
      I, Earl Pitts American, will pass your request for a callback on to The Ronald. FYI Pete, we have already made a selection for The Ronald’s running mate for VPOTUS.
      Thanks again Pete,
      Earl Pitts “He/Him” American

    • Paula

      June 14, 2023 at 1:24 pm

      You belong on Trumps team. You are what and who the word imbecile and low life pertains to.

      • Earl Pitts American

        June 14, 2023 at 1:43 pm

        Oh wait Paula,
        This may just all be a really big misunderstanding, Pete wants to talk trains…NOT ….trans. Thank you Paula.
        OK I’ll call him back.
        Thank you Paula,
        Earl Pitts American

      • Randall

        June 14, 2023 at 7:11 pm


  • Tom

    June 14, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    I guess he’s both a fascist and a homophobe. Unbelievable considering he’s running for national office. What a small minded, little man.

    • Michael K

      June 14, 2023 at 12:36 pm

      He’s also just plain rude – a xenophobe with the social skills and personality of a Roomba.

      Funny how the thin-skinned autocrat will bash the federal government – yet take the money, and even misuse funds for his personal political ambition or some awful stunt. If he can’t even deal with the federal transportation department, imagine what an insufferable bully he’ll be on the world stage. And by the way, his investment acumen (ESG) is terrible, at a terrible cost to the Florida pension fund.

    • Paula

      June 14, 2023 at 1:26 pm

      🤭 that was a totally uncalled for statement.

      • Earl Pitts American

        June 14, 2023 at 1:45 pm

        Get ’em Paula I like you!

    • SteveHC

      June 14, 2023 at 3:30 pm

      DeSantis is anti-homosexuality and anti-LGBTQ+ in general. NOT “phobic,” ANTI. He doesn’t really fear it as he knows they are collectively in the minority. More like anti-civil rights if not outright hateful. Clearly un-American no matter how you look at it.

  • R. Bruce

    June 14, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    Hi-speed rail is a huge money pit that will never to profitable and will never meet expectations. There is no reason why federal, or state tax dollars should be spent on such a pointless project.

    If Sec of Transportation says a law passed by the State House is “Don’t say Gay”, then he lies. No such law. Why would any Govenor talk to a blatant liar?

    • SteveHC

      June 14, 2023 at 3:34 pm

      “R. Bruce” – Given that you are so far removed from modern society (regardless of country) I must ask on what planet do you reside? Clearly not Earth, at least not the one in *this* universe.

  • Earl Pitts American

    June 14, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you R. Bruce,
    Great comment, I dont know why those 2 looser haters above your great comment feel like its OK to trash me in their childish commentary. But I, Earl Pitts American, suspect this Michael K and that Tom dude may be dook 4 brains lefty’s.
    Thank you R. Bruce

  • Marco

    June 14, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    Why should the government, give pot hole Pete the time of day?

    • WhatNow

      June 14, 2023 at 10:36 pm

      – Given that he’s head of the UD DOT I’d think the reason would be pretty obvious to even just slightly-informed people…

Comments are closed.


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