Pete Buttigieg has insisted he is not yet considering running for the White House in 2024 and is happy as Transport Secretary – even though he is surging in the polls while the rest of the administration is seeing a slump in approval ratings.
The new father of adopted twin boys told Politico on Friday during an event at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport that he’s enjoying his time off of the campaign trail and is focused on being in President Biden’s cabinet.
He spoke after a week that has seen Biden aides scrambling to insist the president is running again in 2024 and following reports Kamala Harris is being sidelined in the administration.
President Biden’s approval ratings have also dropped below 40 percent in recent weeks and Kamala’s sunk to as low as 29 percent in a survey earlier this month.
Buttigieg has a higher favorability than both Biden and Harris with six points more than the president and 12 points more than the vice president, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll.
The survey also shows that Butigieg has the highest name recognition of any other member of the Biden administration – besides the president and vice president. Eighty-three per cent of respondents were familiar with Buttigieg’s name.
‘I’d say the other thing that I’m really enjoying about this job, although it’s very demanding and obviously requiring a lot, is that this is the least I have had to think about campaigns and elections in about a decade and that’s a very good thing,’ he said in the interview published Wednesday.
Since 2010, Buttigieg, 39, has run for treasurer of Indiana, mayor of South Bend, chair of the Democratic National Committee and president of the United States. And even though Buttigieg isn’t thinking about what comes next, there is buzz about him being Biden’s heir.
Inside the West Wing, Buttigieg’s name has floated as aides discuss the Democratic presidential nominee for 2028, or even 2024 if Biden opts not to run for reelection.
‘Nobody in the West Wing shuts that down,’ one person with knowledge of the conversations told Politico. ‘It’s very open.’
Pete Buttigieg (right) said he isn’t thinking about whether he will run to be President Joe Biden’s successor in 2024 or 2028
A new poll shows Buttigieg has the highest favorability in the Biden administration – even above the president and vice president
The White House insists that despite rumors of being a one-term president, Biden has zero intentions of not seeking a second term.
‘Over the weekend, there were reports that President Biden was telling allies that he is going to run for reelection in 2024. Can you confirm? Is he going to run in 2024? Is he telling staff that?’ a reporter questioned White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki en route to Fort Bragg on Monday evening.
‘He is,’ she said. ‘That’s his intention.’
Biden, 79, has said both publicly and privately he will run for a second term in 2024, but the behind-the-scenes outreach shows how jittery Democrats are about their leader.
Chatter has ensued, according to reports, about who would replace Biden at the top of the Democratic ticket in 2024 should he not be on the ballot.
Uncertainty surrounding Biden’s political future comes as his approval rating sits in the low 40s – hitting 42 per cent in a new poll Wednesday. The low ratings come, in part, due to spiking inflation along with surging prices for food and gas.
The party is also suffering from in-fighting and leaders question the president’s political capital as the Democratic candidate lost Virginia’s gubernatorial race.
Additionally, there are concerns over Biden’s age and health.
When Biden was elected in 2020, he became the oldest president ever inaugurated at age 78 on January 20, 2021. He would enter a second term at 82 years old.
Some Democrats are saying it doesn’t matter whether or not Biden runs because anyone in their party could beat Donald Trump should the former president make good on his threat to run again.
When Buttigieg was asked by Politico what he’s most looking forward to in the next year, the Transportation secretary said: ‘What excites me most is that we’re going to have a lot of groundbreakings and eventually a lot of ribbon cuttings.’
Buttigieg announced in September that he and husband Chasten (left) adopted twin newborns – Penelope and Joseph
Buttigieg is getting a taste of what it’s like to sell a presidential agenda as he hits the road to promote passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
Reports also emerged of a feud between Harris and Biden and a rivalry between Buttigieg and the vice president – especially as the president’s No. 2 is usually seen as the natural successor.
Buttigieg assured on Sunday that the rumors of a feud between himself and Harris are not true and have not affected his relationship with the vice president.
‘She and I are part of a team that is disciplined and doesn’t focus on what’s obsessing the commentators,’ he told NBC’s Meet the Press. ‘We’re too busy with a job to do.’
‘There’s no room to get caught up in the parlor games and I’m proud to be part of the Biden-Harris team,’ Buttigieg added.