Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has faced calls to resign over his handling of last month's toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
However, the senior White House official now finds himself under investigation over his use of private planes.
According to the Washington Examiner, the Department of Transportation's inspector general will conduct a review of Buttigieg's travel habits, along with those of former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The investigation is being carried out at the request of Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who called for oversight in December of last year.
"Our audit objective will be to determine whether the Office of the Secretary of Transportation complied with Federal regulations, policies, and procedures regarding executive travel on DOT aircraft. We will focus on official trips taken since January 31, 2017," the inspector general's office was quoted as saying in a statement.
For his part, Buttigieg put out a statement of his in which he welcomed the inspector general's review, saying it will disprove "misleading narratives."
Glad this will be reviewed independently so misleading narratives can be put to rest.
Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class. And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money. https://t.co/wUtBtjx9CT
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 27, 2023
"Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class. And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money," Buttigieg continued.
What's more, the Examiner noted that the secretary defended his travel record when speaking to CNN host Don Lemon, insisting he typically flies on "commercial airlines in economy class."
Pete Buttigieg says his excessive use of taxpayer-funded private jets is okay because he's using "a government aircraft that is assigned to the FAA." pic.twitter.com/tnlFiHyxcy
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 28, 2023
Fox News reported in January that Buttigieg was criticized for flying on a private jet to accept an award in Canada. This is despite the Biden administration's demand that Americans reduce their carbon footprint.
Meanwhile, Republicans say that Buttigieg's plane use is yet another reason why he needs to go, with Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert pointing to the climate change double standard.
"And today on the newest episode of 'What Does It Take To Get Mayor Pete Fired?', the DOT is investigating Pete Buttigieg's extensive private jet travel despite the fact that he argues in favor of aggressive action on 'climate change,'" Boebert tweeted.
And today on the newest episode of “What Does It Take To Get Mayor Pete Fired?”, the DOT is investigating Pete Buttigieg's extensive private jet travel despite the fact that he argues in favor of aggressive action on “climate change”.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) February 28, 2023