The media wasn’t notified until two months later that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had taken a parental leave in mid-August to care for his newborn twins. Buttigieg’s office told Politico on Thursday that he was “mostly offline” for an entire month “except for major agency decisions” and that his activities had been ramping up in recent weeks.
布蒂吉格, the former mayor of South Bend, 印第安那州, best known for his 2020 run for the presidency, did not appoint an interim secretary during his leave, even while supply chain disruptions across the country have left shelves empty ahead of the crucial holiday shopping period. He told CNN on Sunday that the disruptions are expected to continue until next year.
“Pete Buttigieg was completely unqualified to serve as Secretary of Transportation,” 它的. 汤姆·科顿, R-方舟, 发推文 星期一. “现在, Pete is absent during a transportation crisis that is hurting working-class Americans.”
“PETE BUTTIGIEG has been MIA,” 政治 宣告 星期四.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Buttigieg on Twitter after Democrats bristled at the “我的” label.
“Also proud to work in an Administration that is fighting to make paid leave a reality for everyone, and with people like @SecretaryPete who are role models on the importance of paid leave for new parents,” Psaki tweeted Friday.
Buttigieg isn’t the only Cabinet member to face criticism for his absence.
本月初, Vice President Kamala Harris flew to Palm Springs, a resort town about 107 miles east of 天使, 为一个 “private family matter,” 官员说. Harris spent one night on Oct. 1 at an undisclosed location in Palm Springs and no other reason was given for the trip.
Since March, when Biden put her in charge of addressing the root causes of the border crisis, Harris has faced steady criticism from Republicans for not visiting the border region – save for a brief trip to El Paso, 德州, in June – despite her taking several trips to her home state of California. Days after her Palm Springs trip, 哈里斯 visited New Jersey instead of accompanying Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for high-level security talks in Mexico City.
在9月. 17, the same day that U.S. Marine Corps Gen. 肯尼斯·麦肯齐, commander of U.S. 中央指挥部, told reporters that an Aug. 29 drone strike targeting ISIS actually killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, 不是恐怖分子, Biden and first lady Jill took a trip to Rehoboth, 特拉华州, for a quiet weekend of church service and bike rides.
The president was already under fire for his handling of the chaotic U.S. military evacuation from the country, during which a suicide bombing attack in Kabul left 13 我们. service members dead. Biden has repeatedly defended his plan to withdraw troops from the country, while as many as a hundred U.S. citizens and tens of thousands of Afghan allies and Afghans vulnerable to Taliban reprisal remain stranded. 会长 largely avoided cameras during the initial drawdown, watching the Aug. 15 fall of Kabul unfold from the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.
According to a detailed timeline of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul compiled by The Washington Post, the actions by U.S. officials in the days leading up to the Aug. 15 collapse suggested “no immediate cause for alarm,” with many of them “surrendering to the customary rhythms of Washington in August.”
闪光, like other U.S. 官员, had to be called back from his vacation once things started rapidly deteriorating in Afghanistan, 报告说.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki 有 一个 “out of the office” email message for one week starting the same day Kabul collapsed, but returned to the White House the next day.
哈里斯, who previously said she had a key role in Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, also managed to stay relatively silent on the crisis, instead embarking on her first official visit to Southeast Asia in an unrelated trip.