Thirteen Republican Senators voted nay on the nomination of Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation.
Buttigieg was confirmed by the Senate on a vote of 86-13 Tuesday, becoming the first-ever openly gay person confirmed to a Cabinet-level position. The tiny opposition was primarily composed of southern GOP Senators, including Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida.
Rubio’s office did not release a statement on the vote, while Scott wrapped his dissent around Buttigieg’s openness to consider raising the gas tax.
The others were Alabama Sens. Tommy Tuberville and Richard Shelby, Tennessee Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.
Blackburn said her no vote was due to Buttigieg’s signals of support for environmental policies.
“The needs of our counties and cities should be prioritized over the environmental wishes of the Biden administration,” tweeted Blackburn.
Hawley has voted against every Biden Cabinet nomination.
Meanwhile, some have contested Buttigieg’s claim to being the first out gay man to serve in a Cabinet-level position. Richard Grenell served as acting director of National Intelligence and ambassador to Germany in the Trump administration. Grenell, however, never sought nor was confirmed for his DNI role.
Grenell tweeted congratulations to Buttigieg on “becoming the second openly gay member of a President’s Cabinet.” Grenell is also calling for Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki to “apologize to the gay community” for demeaning language.
In August of last year Psaki referred to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham as “LadyG” in a tweet about Graham’s questioning of former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
Graham was one of 36 Republican Senators who voted yea on Buttigieg’s confirmation to lead the DOT.