Pete Buttigieg Brutally Mocked After Twitter Users Spot What He Was Wearing in East Palestine
If there’s one thing politicians are supposed to be adept at, it’s curating the perfect photo op.
Unfortunately, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is as terrible at the optics of his position as he is at the job itself.
On Thursday, Buttigieg finally got around to surveying the aftermath of the train derailment disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, that happened nearly three weeks ago.
A controlled burn of the locomotive’s toxic chemical cargo sent flames and a plume of noxious smoke into the skies over the surrounding community and has residents worried about the air and water quality.
Not only was Buttigieg unprepared to handle a transportation cataclysm of this magnitude — after all, he was the mayor who couldn’t get the potholes filled in his city — his choice of footwear reveals he’s not even up to looking the part.
According to Fox News, Buttigieg trudged through the beleaguered hamlet wearing leather dress boots more suited for a European vacation than an active work site.
Sure, the boots may have set off his look with the fleece, button-down shirt, and slim-fit pants, but they were as impractical for a disaster area as a small-potatoes mayor is for a cabinet-level position.
And, of course, the internet noticed.
“Not shocked at all by Mayor Pete wearing dress shoes to East Palestine,” wrote Tom Evans, Ohio Senate Republican Caucus deputy press secretary, as he retweeted a photo of Buttigieg also donning a reflective vest and hard hat with his outfit.
Not shocked at all by Mayor Pete wearing dress shoes to East Palestine. https://t.co/5fnNS6kIvn
— Tom Evans (@tomevans74) February 23, 2023
The original user who shared the photo sarcastically captioned it, “he’s just like me [for real, for real].”
Another user noted the absurdity of Buttigieg’s footwear choice juxtaposed with his message, “I’m here to work.”
The Buttigieg says while in his polished saddle brown dress shoes https://t.co/hWelhDv83O
— 🐾 InfoSec Coydog 🐾 (@NativeIndianDog) February 23, 2023
However, the most significant observation was that Buttigieg failed to measure up to former President Donald Trump, who just happened to have announced and executed his visit before the transportation secretary deigned to make his way there.
Trump visited on Wednesday, providing residents with food, water, “Make America Great Again” hats, McDonald’s, and a morale boost — and the former president also chose the proper boots for the job.
“President Trump literally has ‘boots on the ground’ in East Palestine, OH today!” Real America’s Voice news network tweeted a photo of Trump with his broken-in workboots circled in red.
There’s even a little animation featuring the work boots preferred by workers at job sites across America.
President Trump literally has “boots on the ground” in East Palestine, OH today! 😁🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/09dYRslGhB
— Real America’s Voice (RAV) (@RealAmVoice) February 22, 2023
A representative for Buttigieg attempted to downplay the issue while purposely ignoring the significance of such a concern, according to Fox News.
“The secretary was wearing boots,” the representative said when asked about it.
“We do not have a record of what brand they are,” the representative said before launching into boilerplate mode.
Perhaps it would be petty to nitpick wardrobe choices at a time like this, but that’s just the point — Buttigieg was there for the optics in the first place.
He virtually ignored the situation until Trump, who is running for president in 2024, beat him to the punch.
Then Buttigieg showed up with little to offer except being the face of President Joe Biden’s administration in an American town that seems to matter less to it than Kyiv does.
It’s an odd choice considering politicians are so fond of stumping in button-downs with the cuffs zhuzhed to demonstrate how they’re literally rolling up their sleeves to get things done.
But perhaps it’s a perfect metaphor for Buttigieg, who was chosen as window dressing for an administration obsessed with intersectional optics over professional competency.
Much like those fashionable boots that look sleek against the marble floors of gilded Washington, D.C. palaces, Buttigieg is just as ill-suited for the rough and rugged real world as his footwear.
He and his fancy boots are useless to the people of East Palestine — and as the adage says, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”
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