Rightwingers say the bridge collapsed because Pete Buttigieg is gay

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tours the Washington Bridge during his visit to Rhode Island on March 19
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tours the Washington Bridge during his visit to Rhode Island on March 19 Photo: David DelPoio/The Providence Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

A bridge in Baltimore, Maryland collapsed after it was hit by a 95,000-ton cargo ship early Tuesday morning, and conservatives are already looking for ways to politicize the disaster, including blaming it on out Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for… having children with his husband and being concerned about racism.

At 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, a cargo ship leaving the port of Baltimore and headed for Sri Lanka hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge following a power issue on board. Footage shows the ship hitting a column supporting the bridge, causing it to collapse within seconds as the ship bursts into flames.

It is not yet known how many casualties there were. Several workers were repairing potholes on the bridge and some cars on the bridge fell into the cold water. Two survivors have been rescued so far, but one in “very serious condition, according to Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld.

Six people, though, are still missing.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) said that the bridge was “up to code” and just couldn’t withstand the impact of being hit by such a big ship.

Buttigieg has already gone to Baltimore to survey the damage, and President Joe Biden said that the federal government will pay to rebuild the bridge.

But that didn’t stop rightwingers from finding ways to blame the left, and particularly Buttigieg, for the disaster.

“Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to address Baltimore Bridge collapse as soon as he’s done chestfeeding,” one popular conservative X account posted, using a term that transmasculine people often use to describe feeding their children. Homophobic conservatives have been saying that Buttigieg chest- or breastfeeds his kids for years as an anti-gay joke.

Disgraced former Congressmember George Santos decided he was “revoking Pete’s gay card!” after someone else shared a clip of Buttigieg talking about how, historically, road projects have divided communities of color. The 2021 clip is being shared by many on the right today because he specifically used an example of a bridge, although it has nothing to do with this disaster or this bridge.

Others implied that being concerned with racism meant that bridges would have to be built less securely. And other conservatives just made homophobic jokes.

Conservative activist Brigitte Gabriel called for Buttigieg to resign without explaining why.

Many progressives and LGBTQ+ people pushed back.

For his part, Buttigieg was focused on the disaster, sharing gratitude for the first responders and information about the government response.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the weight of the ship. We regret the error.

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