UPDATED: Hours after the news had been widely reported, the Biden-Harris transition team announced that Pete Buttigieg had been nominated for U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
"South Bend was once called one of America's 'dying cities,'" the official transition account tweeted. "Today it's a hub of innovation and job growth. Mayor Pete Buttigieg led that resurgence, and has been nominated by the President-elect to continue that work as Transportation Secretary."
Buttigieg tweeted about the opportunity before him to "create jobs, meet the climate change challenge, and enhance equality to all." Biden honored Buttigieg in the nomination, saying that he "speaks to the best of who we are as a nation."
The nomination itself is historic for an out LGBTQ+ person. Should he be confirmed by the Senate, he would make history again. A January runoff in Georgia will determine the ballance of power in that upper chamber of Congress.
ORIGINAL: After pounding the pavement hard during the 2020 election, first making history on the primary field as a candidate himself, it seems Pete Buttigieg has a role in the incoming administration. According to an AP News report, the one-time presidential hopeful who turned his quick wit into a much-needed tool for the Biden-Harris administration against the incumbent Donald Trump, is set to be offered the position of United States Transportation Secretary. If Buttigieg is confirmed by the Senate, he would be the first out LGBTQ+ Senate-confirmed cabinet member. Even with his appointment, which is reportedly eminent, he will be the first LGBTQ+ person nominated to a permanent cabinet position.
"Pete's nomination is a new milestone in a decades-long effort to ensure LGBTQ people are represented throughout our government — and its impact will reverberate well-beyond the department he will lead," Annise Parker President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute said in a statement. "It distances our nation from a troubled legacy of barring out LGBTQ people from government positions and moves us closer to the President-elect's vision of a government that reflects America."
Buttigieg made his name on a national scale while running for president in the 2020 Democratic primary. At the time he was the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He made history multiple times during his run as an out candidate. Of those landmark moments: In June 2019 he also made history as the first out gay man to participate in a presidential debate. Fred Karger, an out Republican candidate for the 2012 Republican primary was not allowed on the debate stage during his run. In September 2019, Buttigieg made history as the first candidate to ever discuss their coming out story on the debate stage. Later, he made history winning the Iowa Caucus in February 2020.
A month later he dropped out of the race with him and his husband Chasten gave powerful speeches.
“We sent a message to every kid out there, wondering if whatever marks them out as different, means that they are somehow destined to be less than,” Pete said at the time. “To see that someone who once felt that exact same way, can become a leading presidential candidate with his husband at his side.” He later joked on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he was "38 years too gay" to be president.
As the general election kicked up, Buttigieg was a key tool for Biden, appearing many times on Fox News. Throughout that tour he made a name for himself as "Slayer Pete" as a result of his calm, incisive, and ultimately devastating responses to the pundits on the network.. When Amy Coney Barrett gave her opening statement in her Senate confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court of the United States, he turned his attention to her and carefully dismantled her words on live television.
Earlier on the process it was reported that Buttigieg would be a part of Biden's transition team, which he has served on. As the transition has wound on though there have been many possible titles that have been bandied about for where he might serve in the administration: Press Secretary, Ambassador to China, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, or something within Veterans Affairs. Observers have pointed out that his role would need to be enough to thank him for his service, but not enough to threaten Kamala Harris's eventual presidential run which is expected in 2024.
Republican Richard Grennell was the Acting Director of Intelligence during the Trump administration — the role is not a part of the Cabinet established by the Constitution but in Trump's administration, was a Cabinet-level role. He stepped into that position after being the U.S. ambassador to Germany. It was not permanent and he left the job in May 2020, having served only four months and participated in one Cabinet meeting. The role was not confirmed by the Senate.