Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre if the Biden administration has “confidence” in Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
All domestic flights in the U.S. were grounded overnight Wednesday due to a technical error that barred air traffic control from alerting pilots of potential hazards on their flight paths. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rushed to address the issue and flights resumed by 9:00 a.m.
“Does President Biden have confidence in Transportation Secretary Buttigieg?” Doocy asked.
“Yes,” she answered.
“Because he respects the secretary and the work that he has been doing. You’ve seen the secretary on TV, you have probably spoken to him yourself and they are doing everything that they can to make sure that the experience Americans have is a good one,” she said.
The press secretary added that Buttigieg has worked to hold airlines “accountable” for flight cancellations that left Americans stranded in the past several weeks. (RELATED: Buttigieg Responded Quicker To Rumors About A Senate Bid Than He Did Publicly To Airline Crisis)
“That’s why they have held the airlines accountable. We’ve seen the secretary do that over and over again and we understand what Americans have been going through these past couple of months. That’s why the secretary has been very clear on making sure they are held accountable, has put in processes in place to make sure that that occurs and yes, the president has confidence in Secretary Buttigieg,” she concluded.
Buttigieg came under fire for his alleged inaction in tackling the crisis. Over the holiday break, Southwest Airlines accounted for 63% of flight cancellations allegedly due to issues with its operational system that made it difficult for staff to access new assignments. As of Dec. 26, the airline canceled 2,909 flights on Dec. 26, amounting to 71% of all scheduled flights.
The transportation secretary said he was “tracking” the situation and that customers should be compensated for the cancellations.
The Department of Transportation received thousands of complaints from Southwest Airlines customers, CNN reported. The agency has sent each complaint to the airline and demanded it “provide substantive responses” to each within 60 days.