Donald Trump Jr says Pete Buttigieg only became transport secretary because he’s gay

Donald Trump Jr has suggested Pete Buttigieg was only appointed as the US Secretary of Transportation because he’s gay.

Appearing on right-wing network Newsmax on Wednesday (22 February) to discuss his father’s visit to East Palestine, Ohio — the town where a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed on 3 February — Trump Jr criticised Buttigieg’s response to the incident.

On the immediate issue, said Buttigieg “has no business in that position”, having also said “there’s not even then expectation of these guys doing their jobs”.

However, Trump Jr went further claiming that Buttigieg was only Secretary of Transportation because he had unsuccessfully run for president and giving “the gay guy” the position allowed Biden administration officials to “check off a box”.

He claimed Pete Buttigieg knows “nothing” about transport or the position.

“His failure, after failure, after failure are truly affecting the American people.”

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Video of Trump Jr making the comments was shared online by journalist Aaron Rupar, who labelled the comments as “unvarnished homophobia”.

With the tweet receiving more than 1,000 retweets and nearing 1,000,000 views, a number of people took the opportunity to poke fun at Trump Jr’s comments.

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Filmmaker Jay Arnold said: “WAIT ONE MINUTE. Where’s my gay cabinet seat??”

Video producer Chris Paukert flipped the comments back to Trump Jr: “He’s the son of a famous person, so we gotta give him something, let’s make him a talking head. What does he know about? Nothing.”

There were also a string of people agreeing with Trump Jr.

Newsweek, which initially reported the story, has contacted Trump Jr and Pete Buttigieg for comment.

Trump Jr has actually used the same phrasing before.

On 11 January, he similarly mentioned Buttigieg’s failed presidency bid, White House officials using his sexuality to check a box, and competency for the role after an aviation system outage saw flights grounded for several hours across the US.

Buttigieg’s sexuality has also been targeted by other right-wing pundits.

His husband, Chasten, appeared on CNN, in late November 2022, to defend Buttigieg after Fox News’ Tucker Carlson claimed he “wouldn’t even admit he was gay” until a few years ago.

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Chasten clarified part of it was because Buttigieg served in the US military while the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy was in place, which could have resulted in him being discharged from the military if he announced his sexuality.

“This kind of rhetoric is easy. It’s so easy to attack people and to go on your talk show and fire people up about something that’s not actually happening,” Chasten told the outlet.

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