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Tipsheet

Buttigieg Now Getting Called Out by Fellow Democrats for Southwest Debacle

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Days after the winter storm caused many airlines to cancel flights, "Southwest" continues to trend for their particular mishandling. As covered Tuesday night, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his department have noticed and called out the airline. "Buttigieg" is trending as well. Given his track record, though, it's natural to worry it's all just talk, and fellow Democrats are urging him to do more. Former Ohio state representative Nina Turner is especially fired up.

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On Tuesday night, in response to a Monday night tweet from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Turner claimed that Southwest's cancelation issues could have been avoided.

Buttigieg had also faced criticism around the Fourth of July holiday from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) for not issuing fines ahead of so many cancelations at that time as well.

Turner continued to tweet throughout Tuesday night to call out Buttigieg, and also highlighted past tweets from September, when a railway strike appeared to be on the horizon. As Spencer covered, Buttigieg was actually vacationing in Portugal during that crisis. 

The secretary, Turner had tweeted, has been "preparing to run for President." Buttigieg has been on the top of lists of those who would replace President Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee should he not run again in 2024. He also bested Biden in a poll out of New Hampshire from July. 

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Turner continued with that claim in more of her tweets, as she also highlighted and defended her consistency. 

Later on Tuesday night, Turner called out Biden to also take responsibility. The president, however, is on vacation in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, even as the death toll from the winter storm rises, especially in Buffalo and other parts of New York, leading to heavy criticism over his plans. 

Turner also tweeted a response calling out the "Sorry Pete Won Iowa" account for her taking issue with Buttigieg which had tied her to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). 

More tweets came Wednesday morning from Turner as well, as she furthered highlighted problems of there being "far too much tribalism in politics."

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Her most recent tweet about the Southwest debacle called for steeper and particular action, in this case Congressional hearings. 

The secretary tweeted from his official account on Wednesday morning a clip of his interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," his most recent tweet, where he began by highlighting how a "meltdown" is the only accurate way to describe Southwest's issues and that "we are past the point where they could say this is a weather-driven issue." Buttigieg also highlighted how it amounts to a "system failure" given that while the rest of the industry has about a 4 percent cancelation rate currently, Southwest is looking at upwards of 60 percent. 

Buttigieg did go on to reference cancelations from over the summer with regards to Southwest's customer service plan, though he avoided mentioning his own failures at such a time and even later touted how the department had gotten hundreds of millions of dollars back to passengers before in refunds with past issues. 

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The secretary also mentioned that Southwest CEO Bob Jordan and others executives pledged to him to "go above and beyond," and that USDOT "will be watching closely to make sure that that actually happens."

The airline's most recent tweet now includes a video message from Southwest CEO Bob Jordan on Tuesday night, acknowledging the problem and apologizing, which is their new pinned tweet. 

Jordan pointed to the issue as a "giant puzzle" and one that is "highly complex," touting how Southwest is the largest carrier, with their network also being referred to as "highly complex." The high cancelation rates, Jordan explained, were about reaching a point to where they needed to "catch up." He did speak to the necessity of upgrading the system "so that we never again face what's happening right now."

Towards the close of the video, Jordan also used that line about "go[ing] above and beyond" with regards to customer care.

As for what the airline is doing right now, Southwest still plans to "fly a reduced schedule and reposition our people and planes." They hope to be "back on track before next week."

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This isn't to say that Turner is suddenly a new hero to the right. On Wednesday morning she also took to Twitter to complain about the federal minimum wage and called for Medicare for All. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, though. 



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