“He respects the Secretary in the work that he has been doing. You have seen the secretary on TV,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during the daily briefing when asked why the president supported him.
The FAA’s Notice to Air Missions system crashed Tuesday evening and was not fixed until midmorning Wednesday, forcing all flights to be grounded in the United States.
The incident led to the cancelation or delay of thousands of flights nationwide – the biggest systematic breakdown in air travel since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
But Jean-Pierre had nothing but praise for the Secretary’s service.
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“You have probably spoken to him yourself,” she said. “And they are doing everything that they can to make sure that the experience that Americans have is a good one.”
The White House has not ruled out a cyberattack on the FAA system but also said there was no evidence yet to suggest the computer failure was a result of a hacking attack.
Buttigieg also came under fire after thousands of flights were delayed or canceled during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, leaving Americans traveling by air extremely frustrated.
Other critics pointed out that Buttigieg has spent a great deal of his time as secretary promoting general-neutral language, LGTBQI+ inclusivity, and gender equality as problems with air travel, port infrastructure, and supply chains continue.
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