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Secretary Buttigieg Holds Press Conference With Michigan Governor Whitmer And Detroit Mayor Duggan
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg at a press conference in Detroit, Mich. in 2022.Erin Kirkland / Bloomberg via Getty Images

GOP rep eyes Pete Buttigieg for party’s growing impeachment list

All told, the GOP's impeachment list now includes the sitting president, sitting vice president, five cabinet secretaries, and the director of the FBI.


Unfortunately, train derailments in the United States are not uncommon. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there are roughly 1,000 derailments each year, including 1,049 in 2022, though they vary significantly in terms of severity, cost, and public hazards.

As best as I can tell, politicians have not generally responded to any of these modern derailments by going after the U.S. secretary of Transportation, but in the wake of the Norfolk Southern freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month, a striking number of Republicans have decided to blame the disaster on Pete Buttigieg.

For reasons that remain a little hazy, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, for example, has called for the cabinet secretary to resign. For Rep. Warren Davidson, that might not be quite enough: Appearing on a conservative outlet called Real America’s Voice, the GOP congressman from Ohio went a little further:

“I hope [Buttigieg] does resign, and if he doesn’t, you know, there’s a long list of impeachment criteria. I never would have thought we’d see a point where we need to impeach a secretary of Transportation, but daggone, how many failures have to happen on his watch before we call it?”

Update: On March 1, Republican Rep. Mike Collins of Georgia also raised the prospect of trying to impeach Buttigieg.

With this in mind, it’s apparently time to update the big list of who Republicans might try to impeach.

President Joe Biden: The incumbent Democrat hasn’t actually committed any high crimes, but Republicans have spent nearly all of his term talking about impeaching him. Such chatter grew louder last fall.

Attorney General Merrick Garland: Several GOP lawmakers have raised the prospect of impeaching the nation’s chief law enforcement official. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene even introduced a pending impeachment resolution against Garland, as did Rep. Scott Perry, who also unveiled a similar resolution against the attorney general.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas: There are currently two impeachment resolutions targeting the DHS secretary, and the cabinet agency recently hired outside counsel to prepare for potential impeachment proceedings.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken: For reasons that remain fuzzy, Republican Rep. Ralph Norman introduced an impeachment resolution last summer targeting the nation’s chief diplomat. Rep. Dave Schweikert also raised the specter of impeaching Blinken.

Vice President Kamala Harris: Believe it or not, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert introduced an impeachment resolution targeting Harris — I can’t begin to understand why — and it picked up two co-sponsors.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona: Though this effort apparently hasn’t moved beyond the discussion phase, Cardona is now apparently in the mix. The New York Times reported last fall that “some” GOP lawmakers would like to impeach the education secretary.

FBI Director Chris Wray: Schweikert also made behind-the-scenes comments suggesting the FBI director handpicked by Donald Trump might also face some kind of impeachment threat in the new Congress.

Taken together, the list now includes the sitting president, sitting vice president, five cabinet secretaries, and the director of the FBI.

The only time in American history that a cabinet secretary was impeached was in 1876, when the House impeached Secretary of War William Belknap — after he left office — over alleged bribes. (He was later acquitted by senators.) Will this be the Congress that adds to the list? Watch this space.

This post revises our related earlier coverage.