Joe Biden has picked former rival turned ally Pete Buttigieg to be his Transport Secretary – which will make him the first openly gay member of a US president’s cabinet in history.
The 38-year-old ran to be the Democrat’s nominee for the presidency – making history as the first openly gay person to do so. But he dropped out of the race to endorse Biden in March.
Biden hailed the 38-year-old as ‘a leader, patriot, and problem-solver’ as he announced his decision.
The President-Elect wrote on Twitter: ‘He speaks to the best of who we are as a nation.’
Responding, Buttigieg said he was ‘honoured’ and added:
‘This is a moment of tremendous opportunity – to create jobs, meet the climate challenge, and enhance equity for all.’
President-Elect Biden also gave Buttigieg to a key role in his White House transition team.
Later today Biden will introduce Buttigieg and his new rule during an in Delaware with his Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.
Buttigieg will join a team of three cabinet members who will remake US transport systems to cut emissions as part of Biden’s commitment to fighting climate change.
He will work alongside former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm as Energy Secretary and Gina McCarthy, in the new role of domestic climate chief.
‘You’ll be seeing a hell of a lot more of Pete’
Buttigieg, 38, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana has become a familiar name both in the US and to LGBT+ people around the world this year. He and his husband Chasten Buttigieg, who he married in 2018, have become one of the most famous gay couples in the world.
The ex-US Navy officer achieved unexpected success in early Democratic primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire and proved to be a formidable fundraiser.
Known in his campaign as ‘Mayor Pete’, fans later dubbed him ‘Slayer Pete’ as he became a regular on Fox News debating Trump supporters during the presidential campaign.
Back in March, Biden, 78, compared his young ally to his late son Beau and predicted he had a great future. He said:
‘He reminds me of my son Beau. And I know that won’t mean much to most people but to me it’s the highest compliment I can give any man or woman.
‘Like Beau, he has a backbone like a ramrod.
‘I promise you, you are going to end up over your lifetime seeing a hell of a lot more of Pete than you are of me.’
The news comes after the Electoral College decisively confirmed Biden as the next president yesterday.