Pete Buttigieg Deflects When Asked if He Wants Joe Biden to Run Again

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg declined to give a definitive answer on Sunday when asked about President Joe Biden's 2024 plans, while still praising him for his accomplishments thus far.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, with a background in the U.S. Navy and the business world, Buttigieg previously ran for president in 2020, challenging Biden and others for the Democratic nomination. He managed a considerable degree of success, eking out a narrow victory in the Iowa caucuses and taking second in New Hampshire, before ultimately dropping out and endorsing Biden in March 2020.

Now serving in Biden's Cabinet, he has made a name for himself as a surrogate for the administration, making numerous appearances on news programs to promote the White House's goals and interests. With surging popularity and his admirable 2020 performance, he is viewed by many as a strong future presidential candidate, possibly as early as 2024, should Biden opt not to run.

pete buttigieg talks biden 2024
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is seen. Buttigieg on Sunday declined to comment on whether or not he would support President Biden for reelection in 2024, but offered significant praise for his accomplishments. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

When asked about the prospect of the president seeking a second term in the White House during a Sunday appearance on ABC's This Week, Buttigieg, like many prominent Democrats, declined to give a definitive answer about whether or not he would support Biden's candidacy, citing his professional responsibilities as a Cabinet member.

Polls have consistently shown that most Democratic voters do not want to see Biden run again, with many citing age as a primary factor, as the president would be 87 by the end of a hypothetical second term.

"That's out of my lane and above my pay grade," Buttigieg said in response to the question initially.

He then followed that deflection up with effusive praise for Biden's "historically successful" presidency.

"He is an absolutely historically successful president and I want to see that continue," Buttigieg added. "When I'm appearing in this capacity, I can't talk campaigns and elections, but let me say this: I'm incredibly proud to be part of this team that [Biden] has built and to be part of the results that he is delivering. The biggest infrastructure package since Eisenhower, the most significant economic package since FDR. All, by the way, while having the slimmest congressional majority of any new Democratic president in about a hundred years. And again, we're just two years in."

During an appearance on NBC News the same day, Buttigieg gave Meet the Press host Chuck Todd a similar answer when pressed about the matter.

"You know, right now, I'm trying to make sure that I earn my paycheck here in the first term," Buttigieg said. "I'm proud to be part of this team. I serve at the pleasure of the president, but I feel like we're right in the middle of the action."

In spite of generally low approval ratings and worrisome 2024 polls, Biden has delivered considerable wins for Democrats and voters, including the American Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act alluded to by Buttigieg, both of which have been credited with historic jobs growth in recent economic reports. In addition, Biden presided over the most successful midterm election cycle for a Democratic president in 24 years, with the party growing its Senate majority and keeping Republican gains in the House to a minimum.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.

Updated 02/05/2023, 5:55 p.m. ET: This article was updated with an additional NBC News quote from Buttigieg.