Chasten Buttigieg came to the defense of his husband, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, as critics in his own party accuse him of failing to prevent the ongoing airline crisis.
The DOT secretary is facing pressure from influential leaders across the political spectrum as tens of thousands of Americans remain stranded at airports across the nation.
Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,500 flights Wednesday, 62% of its entire itinerary. The airline plans claims to expect flight schedules to normalize beginning Friday.
Democrat and GOP elected officials and political activists demanded the DOT hold the company accountable so that customers receive full refunds and accommodations.
California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna expressed frustration with the situation on Thursday, claiming he and Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders had proposed policies that could have prevented.
“Nearly six months ago [Bernie Sanders and] I called for Buttigieg to implement fines & penalties on airlines for cancelling flights. Why were these recommendations not followed? This mess with Southwest could have been avoided. We need bold action.”
Chasten Buttigieg defended his husband on Friday, accusing Khanna of failing to speak out against Southwest’s corporate leadership and obsolete logistics.
“Zero tweets on his timeline about Southwest leadership or their outdated IT system. That’s politics, I guess,” Chasten wrote.
For more than a year, Republican leaders have complained Buttigieg does not take his job seriously amid a series of crises for Americans. Buttigieg was on vacation in Europe as railroad unions attempted to negotiate a deal in September to avoid a potentially disastrous strike.
The secretary was on paternity leave with his husband and their two newborns for several months last year as the country faced supply chain shortages.