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Biden introduces Buttigieg as Transportation nominee

Biden introduces Buttigieg as Transportation nominee
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech Kemp: Pulling All-Star game out of Atlanta will hurt business owners of color MORE formally introduced Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegSunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge Buttigieg hopes cruises will return by mid-summer Biden to host bipartisan talks on infrastructure next week MORE as his nominee for Transportation secretary from Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday. 

"I got to know Pete on the campaign trail," Biden said, referring to the 2020 Democratic primary, in which both the president-elect and Buttigieg were rivals for the White House. "One of the smartest people you will ever meet. And one of the most humble. Mayor from the heartland, a management expert, and a policy wonk with a big heart." 

Biden praised Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., for his leadership style and new ideas. 

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"He’s able to walk into any room and leave people inspired with his ability to describe an America that’s the best of us," Biden said. 

Buttigieg's Cabinet nomination is a history-making move and adds to the diversity of Biden's Cabinet. Buttigieg would be the first openly gay Senate-confirmed member of a presidential Cabinet if he is installed in the position. Rick Grenell, who served as the acting director of national intelligence from February to May, was the first openly LGBTQ Cabinet secretary.

Additionally, Buttigieg would be the only millennial to serve in Biden's Cabinet. 

The former mayor recalled watching the confirmation hearing of James Hormel, the first openly gay man to represent the U.S. as an ambassador, during the Clinton administration. Senate Republicans at the time worked to block Hormel's nomination, but he was ultimately appointed to be U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg through a recess appointment. 

"Two decades later, I can’t help but think of a 17-year-old who might be watching right now, someone who wonders whether and where they belong in the world, or even in their own family, and I’m thinking about the message today’s announcement is sending to them," Buttigieg said. 

The Department of Transportation has traditionally been a Cabinet post where officials from the opposing party have been given consideration. President Obama nominated GOP Rep. Ray LaHood (Ill.), while George W. Bush put Democrat Norman Mineta in the position.

If confirmed, Buttigieg, who is considered a moderate Democrat, would likely play a key role in crafting a potential infrastructure package. Infrastructure is one of the few areas seen as a bipartisan issue.