U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has taken Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to task over the anti-LGBTQ+ politician flying asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
"Obviously, there are issues with the border and with migration, but these are the kinds of stunts you see from people who don't have a solution,” Buttigieg said in an interview with journalist Evan Smith at the 2022 Texas Tribune Festival.
His comments drew applause from the audience.
“Governor DeSantis was in Congress. Where was he when they were debating immigration reform?” Buttigieg asks in the interview. “What have any of these people done to be part of the solution?
“So, you know, I get that if you’re after attention … it’s one thing to call attention to a problem when you have a course of action … it’s another thing to just call attention to a problem because the problem is actually more useful to you than the solution, and that helps you call attention to yourself. And that’s what’s going on,”
Buttigieg continued, “And the problem is, it’s one thing if it was just people being obnoxious, but human beings are being impacted by that. You flee a communist regime in Venezuela, you come here, and then somebody tricks you — somebody using Florida taxpayer money for some reason — tricks you in going from Texas to Massachusetts.
“It is not just ineffectual, it is hurting people in order to get attention.”
The clip posted online has been viewed by more than 2.1 million on Twitter and has been liked by more than 105,000.
One Twitter user responded to the clip, “Slayer Pete.” Others praised Buttigieg for his response to DeSantis’s actions.
About two weeks ago, asylum seekers, many of whom are believed to be from Venezuela, were sent to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas due to arrangements made by DeSantis. Many said they did not understand where they were heading or why.
DeSantis said that he wanted to make a statement about President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.
The move has been condemned by Biden administration officials and human rights advocates.