Buttigieg Responded Quicker To Rumors About A Senate Bid Than He Did Publicly To Airline Crisis

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg responded more quickly to rumors about a potential Senate run following Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s retirement announcement than to the airline crisis over the holidays.

Sen. Stabenow announced Thursday around 9:15 a.m. that she would not seek re-election. The news prompted rumors that Buttigieg, who recently moved to Michigan, would run to occupy Stabenow’s seat.

Buttigieg responded to the rumors in a statement sent out to reporters before 11:00 a.m. (RELATED: Anna Paulina Luna Demands Retraction From Rival Who Claimed She Slept With Matt Gaetz And Uses Witchcraft)

“I am fully focused on serving the President in my role as Secretary of Transportation, and not seeking any other job,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg faced criticism for alleged inaction in response to mass airline cancelations and delays that left thousands of travelers stranded during the holiday season. Southwest Airlines was responsible for 63% of the canceled flights, according to FlightAware. Although the airline blamed “extreme weather” for the schedule disruptions, others blamed a “botched” operational system that made it difficult for staff to access their new assignments.

While Southwest canceled 2,909 flights, accounting for 71% of those scheduled, on Dec. 26, Buttigieg only issued a statement shortly after midnight on Dec. 27.

“I’m tracking closely & will have more to say about this tomorrow,” Buttigieg said in a tweet, responding to a post from the U.S. Department of Transportation saying they were “concerned” by the cancelations.

Buttigieg said in a statement to ABC News on Dec. 28 that Southwest customers should be “compensated” after the “system failure.”

State attorneys general warned Buttigieg about the impending airline crisis back in August, urging “meaningful action.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James also wrote a letter to Buttigieg in August, warning of a “deeply troubling and escalating pattern” of flight delays and cancelations during times of high travel.

The Department of Transportation formally warned Southwest CEO Bob Jordan that unless passengers followed through on providing reimbursement for canceled flights, hotels, meals, and lost baggage, the department would “use the fullest extent of its investigative and enforcement powers to hold Southwest accountable.”

The Department of Transportation did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment by time of publication.