Pete Buttigieg Attacks Critics: ‘You Think Tucker Carlson Knows the Difference Between a T.J. Maxx and a Kohl’s?’

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigeg lashed out at critics on Sunday, calling Fox News’ Tucker Carlson — born and raised in California — a member of the “East Coast elite” who did not understand the working class.

Buttigieg has come under fire lately for his mishandling of a toxic trail derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

He has also been slammed for being on unannounced parental leave during the cargo crisis of 2021, and for being on vacation in Portugal last year as a rail strike loomed — while pretending that he was still in the country.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg (C) visits with Department of Transportation Investigators at the site of the derailment on February 23 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. On February 3rd, a Norfolk Southern Railways train carrying toxic chemicals derailed causing an environmental disaster. Thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate after the area was placed under a state of emergency and temporary evacuation orders (Photo by Brooke LaValley-Pool/Getty Images)

CNN reported Sunday:

“It’s really rich to see some of these folks – the former president, these Fox hosts – who are literally lifelong card-carrying members of the East Coast elite, whose top economic policy priority has always been tax cuts for the wealthy, and who wouldn’t know their way around a T.J. Maxx if their life depended on it, to be presenting themselves as if they genuinely care about the forgotten middle of the country,” the Transportation Secretary said. “You think Tucker Carlson knows the difference between a T.J. Maxx and a Kohl’s?”

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Buttigieg acknowledged mistakes. He said he should have gone to East Palestine, Ohio, earlier. He said he failed to anticipate the political fallout from the toxic train derailment, despite months of transportation problems like mass flight cancellations and an air traffic control system shutdown that left many Americans frustrated.

But he also punched back at critics, arguing that many of the problems he’s being blamed for are only partially connected to his portfolio and mostly out of his direct control.

Buttigieg ran for president as the country’s first openly gay major candidate. He grew up in South Bend, Indiana, the son of a college professor at Notre Dame. He attended Harvard and entered the U.S. Navy Reserve on a direct commission. He was elected twice to be the mayor of South Bend, but has since relocated to live in Michigan, where the parents of his husband, Chasten, live.

During the 2020 campaign, Buttigieg outperformed expectations, raising millions from Silicon Valley. He was deeply resented by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who cast Buttigieg as an elitist whose policies reflected Wall Street’s economic priorities.

Pete Buttigieg addresses reporters during a campaign stop in Iowa on January 15, 2020. (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)

An elite fundraiser held by Buttigieg in a “wine cave” in Napa Valley, California, drew particular attention.

The Sanders campaign created a “Pete’s Wine Cave” website and mocked him for honobbing with the rich.

Carlson was raised in upscale California communities, though is generally regarded as having worked his way to the top of journalism, doing early-morning anchor shifts on Fox News until earning the prime time TV slot.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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