Pete Buttigieg's Reported Transit Sec Nomination Praised As LGBTQ Milestone

Social media users celebrated the news of Pete Buttigieg's possible nomination for Transportation Secretary under the incoming Biden administration on Tuesday.

Following the release of several reports that suggested Buttigieg—the Democratic former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and one of President-elect Joe Biden's primary opponents earlier this year—is Biden's pick to lead the federal agency, many took to Twitter with comments praising the potential selection. Reports published by a handful of news outlets, including the Associated Press, NBC News and CNN, each cited information from unnamed sources familiar with the new administration's plans.

Public reactions to Buttigieg's reported nomination predominantly focused on his past environmental policies and his hopeful contributions to infrastructure projects, in addition to its significance for the LGBTQ community. Buttigieg was the first openly gay person to serve as an elected executive official in Indiana, and the first openly gay presidential candidate in U.S. history to pursue a national campaign. If Tuesday's reports about his federal nomination prove to be true and Buttigieg is approved to lead the Transportation Department, he would also become the first out LGBTQ person confirmed by the Senate to hold a permanent cabinet secretary position.

Richard Grennell, the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, was the first openly gay person to serve in a leading cabinet role earlier this year. Because Donald Trump appointed him to replace Joseph Maguire, a retired Vice Admiral and former National Counterterrorism Director, as acting Director of National Intelligence last February, Grennell did not receive Senate confirmation before assuming the position.

"This reported nomination would not only be historic, but a reminder to LGBTQ people everywhere that any opportunity is possible," wrote the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, in a tweet responding to the news of Buttigieg's anticipated nomination on Tuesday afternoon.

This reported nomination would not only be historic, but a reminder to LGBTQ people everywhere that any opportunity is possible.

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) December 15, 2020

"This will be a historic milestone for LGBTQ visibility," added Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and chief operating officer of GLAAD, an organization whose work prioritizes LGBTQ representation in media, in an additional message shared to Twitter. Ellis went on to commend Buttigieg's "unqualified commitment to diversity and equality" and congratulate the former mayor and his husband Chasten Buttigieg on their "groundbreaking new roles."

Pete's experience and skills as a leader, manager and brilliant communicator, combined with his heartland roots and his unqualified commitment to diversity and equality, will improve the lives of all Americans as Transportation Secretary.

— Sarah Kate Ellis (@sarahkateellis) December 15, 2020

Buttigieg's reported nomination to serve as transportation secretary under Biden followed a wave of backlash targeting the president-elect's previous suspected pick. Earlier reports suggested that Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago and former chief of staff during Barack Obama's presidency, was first in line to fulfill the transit position. Several politicians and public figures, including New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, criticized Emanuel as a possible selection for cabinet chief at the time. The criticism referenced Emanuel's response to Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald's police-involved death in 2014, while Emanuel was mayor.

Newsweek reached out to the Biden-Harris transition team for comment but did not receive a reply in time for publication.

Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary, Joe Biden
Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is reportedly President-elect Joe Biden's pick for Transportation Secretary nominee. Here, Buttigieg is photographed backstage at "The Inhertance" on Broadway at The Barrymore Theatre on March 8, 2020 in New York City. Bruce Glikas/WireImage