U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg reportedly flew on a military aircraft to the Netherlands with his spouse to participate in the fifth Invictus Games, as per a calendar discovered by Americans for Public Trust (APT).
As Fox News reported:
“On April 15, Buttigieg traveled from Joint Base Andrews to Rotterdam, Netherlands, via ‘MilAir Flight’ before returning two days later on military aircraft, as the calendar obtained by Americans for Public Trust (APT) and shared with Fox News Digital showed. According to photos from the event and media reports, the transportation secretary traveled to the Netherlands with his husband.
“President Biden announced that Buttigieg would lead a presidential delegation, which included lawmakers and fellow administration officials, to the Invictus Games days prior to the event in April. The event was founded by Prince Harry in 2014 as a multi-sport competition for wounded, injured or sick soldiers and military veterans. Buttigieg joined the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.”
Following the release of Buttigieg's calendar, APT asked if his trip could be viewed as a “double standard,” given that former President Donald Trump's former Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, resigned after reports claimed he cost taxpayers more than $1 million in federally funded private jets and military aircraft. In the end, Price reimbursed the government for some travel expenses after it was revealed that his wife traveled with him on military aircraft on overseas trips.
Buttigieg has used state-owned private aircraft “on at least 18 occasions since taking office, despite arguing for aggressive climate change policies and carbon emission reductions,” according to APT.
It's unclear if Buttigieg has repaid the government for his husband's travel expenses.
Buttigieg's critics blasted his Twitter account following the release of the report by APT, with many commenting on his shortcomings while with the Department of Transportation, including the recent cancellations of flights across the nation.
“While families' holiday travel plans were upended by his department's failures, Buttigieg has used their tax dollars to avoid problems he created,” APT tweeted.
“Your holiday flights were delayed or canceled but Pete Buttigieg brought his husband on a military aircraft to attend [a] sporting event in [the] Netherlands,” Senator Josh Hawley's (R-MO) press secretary, Abigail Marone, tweeted.
American Majority founder and CEO Ned Ryun accused Buttigieg of being “the poster boy for an arrogant and detached idiocracy.”
“’Wild story’—to summarize, while commercial air travel has been a disaster for you: Mayor Pete has taken 18 private jet flights. He took Chasten on a military plane to attend a sporting event in Europe…with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry,” GOP communicator Matt Whitlock tweeted.
However, the Transportation Department defended Buttigieg's travel practices in a statement to Fox News:
“The Secretary was proud to be asked to be part of the Presidential Delegation that the State Department organized for the Invictus Games—an international event supporting wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans. The delegation met with the U.S. team of wounded veterans and active service members as part of the visit.”
President Joe Biden's White House also backed Buttigieg in a statement that read: “It's standard practice for military aircraft to be provided for White House organized cabinet-level presidential delegations.”