Pete Buttigieg sidesteps question about future presidential run: ‘I don’t have room for politics’

Pete Buttigieg speaks in front of a blue curtain

US transport secretary Pete Buttigieg sidestepped when asked whether he would ever run for president again.

Buttigieg, 40, dropped out of the Democratic race to unseat Donald Trump in March 2020, leaving a history-making primary where he became the first openly gay person to launch a presidential campaign.

But on Sunday (13 March), 60 Minutes host Anderson Cooper asked Buttigieg whether he’d ever give it a second shot should Joe Biden decide not to seek a second term.

His answer wasn’t yes, but it wasn’t quite a no either.

“Where my head is at is how do we spend the better part of a trillion dollars in infrastructure funding, accountable, on time, on task and on budget,” he told Cooper.

“It literally doesn’t leave any room for me to be thinking about politics.”

“I kind of thought that was the answer,” Cooper replied.

While Pete Buttigieg isn’t out playing politics just yet, Anderson Cooper remarked that his cabinet role will come in his favour if he ever does.

The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor is often out and about meeting local officials while injecting much-sought funds into public works projects, which could go down well with voters.

Pete Buttigieg speaks during commemorations for the 57th anniversary of Bloody Sunday on March 06, 2022 in Selma, Alabama. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

“Like every job, there’s a flashy side and then there’s a workhorse side,” Buttigieg said.

“Like every job, you will succeed if you keep your head down and do what needs to be done.

“But I’ll tell you, I love this job. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing in public service right now.”

Pete Buttigieg bowed out of the Democratic primaries just two days before Super Tuesday, a thumping voting day where 15 states and territories make their ballots.

“Sometimes the longest way around really is the shortest way home,” he told supporters at an Austin fund-raiser at the time, announcing that he’s returning to South Bend and ending his bid to become president.

“The truth is that the path has narrowed to a close, for our candidacy if not for our cause.”

Since then, Buttigieg has skyrocketed from relative obscurity to transportation secretary, once again making history as the first Senate-approved openly gay cabinet official.

Saying words no nominee has ever said before in a cabinet hearing, Buttigieg said: “I wanna thank president Biden for trusting me with this nomination, and I’d like to take a moment to introduce my husband, Chasten Buttigieg, who is here with me today.”

He turned back behind him to look at Chasten who nodded in support: “I am proud to have him by my side.”