On Tuesday morning, CNN host Don Lemon pressed Pete Buttigieg after it was announced that he is under investigation by the inspector general of his department because of his frequent use of private jets.
“There is an internal audit of your use of FAA jets for official trips following a request for review by Sen. Marco Rubio, who also scrutinized Elaine Chao’s private jet travel as transportation secretary. Do you have a response to that?”, asked Lemon.
Buttigieg tried making excuses right away, saying “Here’s how we handle my travel: the vast majority of the time I travel on commercial airlines and economy class, but there is a portion of the time, I’d say about 10 to 20%, when we use our agency’s aircraft. This is not chartering a private jet. This is a government aircraft that is assigned to the FAA. Usually, when we use it, it’s because for me to travel with staff turns out to be cheaper than buying all of those airline tickets.”
Watch that back and forth here:
“Occasionally, it’s because of a security or logistical issue, but the number one reason we would use that agency aircraft is that it actually works out to be less expensive for tax payers than the commercial airline tickets would be,” Buttigieg added.
Obviously not quite believing Pete, Lemon pressed, asking “So no concerns about this?”
“Yeah, it’s good for it to get an independent look,” Buttigieg responded. “I mean, I won’t say anything about the motivations of the senator. I will just say that we are here with the facts, and we’ll put forward the math, and I think people will see how we make these decisions, why we make these decisions, and I think it’s a good thing for people to understand that.”