David T. Valentin
As Pete Buttigieg was confirmed by the United States Senate as transportation secretary, the 39-year-old former 2020 presidential candidate and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, becomes the first ever openly confirmed gay cabinet member in U.S. history.
Additionally, Buttigieg has also become the youngest member of Biden’s cabinet. As transportation secretary, Buttigieg has stated he will “recognize how infrastructure has the power to bridge racial and economic disparities in America, as well as to keep in lockstep with Biden’s agenda of fighting climate change and address systems reeling from plummeting ridership amid the coronavirus pandemic.”
While Buttigieg is the first openly gay cabinet member confirmed by the Senate, he is actually not the first openly gay cabinet member. The first openly appointed gay cabinet member was Richard Grenell who served under President Trump. Grenell was designated to serve as the Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) while holding a position as ambassador to Germany. However, he was directly appointed to the position of DNI by Trump and never had to be confirmed by the Senate.
Grenell congratulated Buttigieg in a tweet this Tuesday (Feb. 2nd).