Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, an advocate of increased government action to curb carbon emissions, has taken at least 18 flights using taxpayer-funded private jets since taking office, Fox News Digital has learned.
Buttigieg has traveled across the country — visiting Florida, Ohio and New Hampshire, among other states — and out of the country using a private jet fleet managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), according to flight tracking data reviewed by Fox News Digital. The flight records align with Buttigieg’s schedule of external and public engagements obtained by government watchdog group Americans for Public Trust (APT).
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, Politico reported at the time. And 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.
Bipartisan leaders on the House Oversight and Reform Committee had opened an investigation into several senior Trump administration officials’ use of government-owned and private aircraft for travel days before Price submitted his letter of resignation.
“Everyday Americans face flight [cancellations] and long wait times because Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has completely mismanaged air travel,” APT executive director Caitlin Sutherland told Fox News Digital. “Yet, he gets to avoid all that by taking taxpayer-funded private jets to destinations with readily available commercial airline options.”
“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,” she continued. “This is hypocrisy at its finest, and these troubling expenses to taxpayers must come under immediate scrutiny.”
While the exact taxpayer cost of Buttigieg’s flights is unclear, the FAA has charged federal agencies roughly $5,000 per hour to use its fleet, the Washington Post reported amid the congressional investigation into Trump officials’ travel in 2017.