Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., praised Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg as “a future president of the United States” during an event in Alexandria, Virginia, on Tuesday.
“I’m thrilled to be here with my governor, my vice mayor, my secretary of Virginia transportation and Secretary Pete, a future president of the United States,” Beyer said to applause.
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Beyer was the first member of Congress to endorse Buttigieg’s unsuccessful 2020 presidential run in April 2019. Buttigieg dropped out of the race less than a year later after failing to hit his campaign’s Super Tuesday fundraising goal of $13 million.
“Secretary Buttigieg is about to preside over the largest infrastructure plan in American history, and who better than a Rhodes scholar? Just kidding,” Beyer said Tuesday, appearing to make a “roads” pun.
Beyer praised Biden for picking Buttigieg for his Cabinet back in December.
“Choosing Pete Buttigieg to serve as Secretary of Transportation is a brilliant and historic appointment,” Beyer said in a statement. “President-elect Joe Biden has again shown his commitment to diversity and made history with the first-ever nomination of an openly gay American to lead a Cabinet department.”
Beyer’s “future president” comment comes as President Biden appears to be hedging on whether he’ll run for a second term.
“I plan on running for reelection. That’s my expectation,” Biden said last week.
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Biden’s expected infrastructure overhaul could give Buttigieg a chance to raise his profile. Senior Democratic officials are proposing as much as $3 trillion in new spending on a jobs and infrastructure bill that would become the foundation of Biden’s “Build Back Better” program.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., was caught on a hot mic last week telling Buttigieg that Democrats will likely have to use reconciliation to pass an infrastructure bill.
Fox Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.