Out Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has developed quite a reputation this past year for distilling complicated policy into quick, made-for-TV soundbites. Now his talent is being put to the test.
The White House challenged Buttigieg to answer questions about President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion package to expand and update infrastructure, in fifteen seconds or less.
In the lighthearted video, Buttigieg raced against the clock to communicate the benefits of the plan to the American people.
“American Jobs Plan is the most comprehensive and ambitious investment in US jobs since World War II,” he said, “and I’m excited about it as transportation secretary because it’s full of investments in our transportation infrastructure.”
Buttigieg celebrated as he succeeded at answering questions within the allotted time.
“It’s almost like I talk for a living,” he joked.
But the stakes got higher as seconds were shaved off the clock with each round.
“We’re falling behind,” Buttigieg said in response to a question about why it’s important to update U.S. infrastructure. “We’ve fallen to 13th place. Strategic competitors like China are investing hugely in their infrastructure. We’ve got to not just keep up or catch up, but we’ve gotta lead.”
He also explained that roads, bridges, highways, the national airspace, airports, digital broadband, and pipes are all part of infrastructure, and went on to talk as fast as he could through a summary of the American Jobs Plan.
“20,000 miles of roads and highways improved or renovated to 10,000 of the most important bridges around the country, as well as 10 major economically significant ones, ports, airports, rail, transit, infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure!” he said as he broke down laughing.
And to people who say the plan is too ambitious, he said, “Since when does American think small?”
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) April 19, 2021