Marjorie Taylor Greene gets House GOP to cut Pete Buttigieg’s salary to $1 over his sexuality

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene/Secretary Pete Buttigieg
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene/Secretary Pete Buttigieg Photo: Shutterstock

Citing lies, her own opposition to progressive policies, and “false” Facebook videos, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced an amendment to decrease out Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s salary to $1. She even accused Buttigieg of using “private planes funded by taxpayers to receive awards for the way certain people have sex.”

House Republicans promptly voted to pass it.

Far-right House Republicans have been using the tactic of legislating an official’s salary be reduced to $1 this year to attack Biden administration officials they disagree with. House Republicans voted to attach the measure to the 2024 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending bill, one of several spending bills that Congress has to pass in order to avoid a federal government shutdown this month.

Introducing her amendment, Greene accused Buttigieg of calling roads “racist,” acting to combat climate change, and trying to increase equity at the Department of Transportation. She alleged that Buttigieg doesn’t care about people in rural areas, despite his support for – and her opposition to – the infrastructure bill that provided funding for rural transportation projects.

Then her accusations got weird. She claimed that there was a video online showing Buttigieg “faking a bike ride to a White House Cabinet meeting,” referring to an April 2021 video that circulated in rightwing social media circles that many conservatives claimed proved that he faked a bike ride from Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters to the White House because he took the bike out of an SUV. But journalists who were present said that he took it out at the DOT complex. Facebook flagged the video in an effort to combat false news, Politifact rated the claim that Buttigieg faked the bike ride “false,” and Snopes rated the claim “false” as well.

Greene then said that Buttigieg got his job because of “identity politics” and lied about his use of “private jets,” another popular myth in rightwing circles.

“While implementing his tyrannical climate agenda through his office and preaching for the government to curb carbon emissions, Pete Buttigieg has reportedly taken at least 18 taxpayer-funded flights on private jets managed by the FAA [Federal Aviation Authority],” she claimed, not explaining how government-owned planes could qualify as “private jets.”

Buttigieg has already responded to the false claim that he travels in private jets repeatedly, including at a House Transporation & Infrastructure hearing in September. He said that he had taken 607 commercial flights as part of his job, 10 flights on military aircrafts, and 21 with FAA aircrafts, which he said were cheaper than flying him and his staff on commercial flights.

“Just, once again, the way I usually travel is in economy class aboard an airliner like everybody else,” Buttigieg said. “When we do it differently, it’s often because it will save taxpayer money.”

But the use of “private jets” wasn’t really Greene’s point: “One of these flights was taken to receive an award from the Canadian gay rights organization for advancing LGBTQ rights. American taxpayers don’t want to pay for Pete Buttigieg to get awards for the way people have sex.”

Besides the homophobia of referring to LGBTQ+ identities as “the way people have sex,” she also lied about what happened. According to the Fox News story on the matter, Buttigieg took an FAA flight to Montreal to attend the International Civil Aviation Organization conference in September 2022, which he described as a conference “where aviation authorities from around the world will discuss and decide on shared approaches to safety, security, climate, and other major issues in aviation.”

While he was in Montreal, he also spent an evening receiving the Laurent McCutcheon Award from Fondation Emergence, Quebec’s largest LGBTQ+ organization.

On X, Greene claimed that her amendment will “FIRE Pete Buttigieg,” even though that’s not what it does. Also, it’s unlikely to pass the Senate and be signed by President Joe Biden since amendments like this are little more than a partisan attack on the Biden administration.

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