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Give the Boot to Mayor Pete and Diversity Hiring

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Allie Vugrincic/The Vindicator via AP, Pool

OK, everyone – we've had enough at this point. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg finally traveled to East Palestine, Ohio, after almost three weeks of inaction on the railroad derailment and subsequent catastrophic chemical spill there. 


While on the ground, and wearing dress shoes, Mayor Pete gave platitudes about the reason he had not traveled there earlier, and failed to address why his boss, President Biden, took the time to fly to Ukraine rather than visiting the residents impacted by the derailment.

Buttigieg walked away from a reporter asking about his delay in traveling to the area, leaving his press secretary to rescue him, who in turn refused to answer the reporter’s questions, instead calling them “aggressive.”

This was at least an improvement from the transportation secretary’s media dodge outside his home in Washington the night before, where he invoked “personal time” to avoid answering similar questions about his weeks-long refusal to visit the site of the spill.

Mayor Pete's taking personal time and ignoring basic media questions around a transportation problem of national consequence is nothing new. A year-and-a-half ago, he took two months of paternity leave during a major supply chain and shipping crisis.  When questioned on being MIA at a critical time for his department, Buttigieg sidestepped the issue and went on liberal television shows to defend his long absence as simply another form of “work.”

And then there was the infamous nationwide grounding of planes ordered by Mayor Pete’s Federal Aviation Administration in November following a computer glitch,  shortly after he vacationed in Portugal, focusing instead on policing non-woke terminology in our aviation system instead of fixing the problem.


Whatever way you look at it, it's clear Mayor Pete is simply not qualified for the position, with apparently no background in transportation and a work ethic that is questionable at best. It's not a stretch to surmise that his main qualification to run the Transportation Department for the largest economy on the planet is that he played with a model train set as a kid. 

Everyone knows that Biden hired Mayor Pete just to check a box, namely, to make him the first gay cabinet member, without respect to his background and ability to do the job. And Biden got credit in many liberal quarters for doing just that.

Ditto for other major appointees on Biden's team, including Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the first Hispanic immigrant to head a cabinet department, and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, the first black lesbian to serve in that position.

Yet Mayor Pete’s dismal record in office – together with those of Mayorkas and KJP – demonstrates the insanity of diversity hiring under Biden. He and other Democrats view the country fundamentally as divided into separate groups, and hiring has become one big game of virtue-signaling rather than putting in place the best person for the job.

Not only is this practice divisive on its face, it makes it nearly impossible to fire these officials for incompetence, for fear of offending the demographic group their appointment targets politically. 

This diversity-hiring frenzy is a relatively new phenomenon, but most Americans – especially those directly impacted by a chemical spill, a supply chain crisis, or grounded planes –  have had enough, and it simply needs to stop.


To his great credit, President Trump largely avoided any kind of identity politics in his four years in office, particularly in hiring.

As a small example, he named me to two senior positions in government during his term – spokesman for the National Security Council and Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and in doing so happened as a matter of simple fact, to make me one of the highest-ranking gay officials in history from either party.

Yet to his credit, Trump never once mentioned I was gay, even when he and his administration predictably came under regular fire from liberal media – absent any factual basis – on the issue of diversity. Trump simply said I was the best qualified candidate for both jobs, as a Marine veteran with a long background in national security communications.

This is because Trump and Republicans believe, correctly, that we are all Americans, no matter our background, race, gender or sexual orientation. We are not special identity groups to be split up and pandered to for political gain.

This is also why our founders stressed the phrase E pluribus unum – out of many, one – from the first days of our founding, putting the phrase on our coins, on the Great Seal of the United States, and over the tribune in the U.S. Senate.

As Americans we've got to get beyond this business of woke diversity hiring – it diminishes us as a country. No one cares what our background is – all taxpayers expect from their public servants is that they're qualified to do the job and then that they work hard, show up, and actually do the job.


Which brings us back to Mayor Pete – after his frequent absences and dismal performance over the last two years, he's actually done gays a huge disservice by being a widely heralded diversity hire in the first place.

If Biden had any understanding of accountability, which in the wake of Afghanistan and the border we know is not the case, he would give Mayor Pete the boot as transportation secretary – and shed woke diversity hiring once and for all.  In doing so, Biden could begin righting the ship, and we could be done with this nonsense going forward in future administrations.


John Ullyot is a U.S. Marine veteran and served as National Security Council spokesman and Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs under President Trump.

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