U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg joins Yahoo News’ “Skullduggery” podcast to discuss the passage of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, which limits LGBTQ education for young children. “Bottom line, it’s hurting kids,” says Buttigieg. The secretary also responds to derogatory comments made by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., that “Pete Buttigieg can take his electric vehicles and his bicycles, and he and his husband can stay out of our girls’ bathrooms.” Buttigieg calls the speech “literally nonsensical” and argues that the Republican Party is seeking to distract from important issues “because at the end of the day, they’re worrying about which books to ban and we’re worrying about which bridges to fix.”
DANIEL KLAIDMAN: Governor DeSantis of Florida on Monday signed into law one of these so-called "don't say gay" bills that ban discussion of LGBTQ topics in public schools. You're the first openly gay member of a cabinet. What's your reaction to that law and to those bills more generally? PETE BUTTIGIEG: Look, I think bottom line, is it's hurting kids. It's making it harder to be an LGBT-- I mean, life is hard enough for, let's say, in middle school, for example, when you're not LGBTQ. It can be really challenging for kids who are different or for kids whose parents or LGBTQ. I think about what life might be like for our kids when they start school. If they were in a place like Florida, that might stop them from mentioning that they had a great time over the weekend with their dads. And so look, this is part of a very familiar political playbook. And I think the reason this political playbook is being pulled off the shelf is that you got a lot of folks who don't have actual plans for the things that are affecting so much of everyday life. They don't have a lot of solutions on supply chains or inflation or infrastructure. So they're looking for somebody to target, to change the subject to these culture wars. And they're really doubling down on these culture wars, where, look, we're going to stand our ground and make sure that we stand with people who are vulnerable, but also point out how we got here, because at the end of the day, they're busy worrying about what books to ban, and we're over here figuring out which bridges to fix. DANIEL KLAIDMAN: I was covering the Trump rally in Georgia on Saturday, when Marjorie Taylor Greene, the far right member of Congress from that state, took the stage, and she said this to the crowd. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE: And you know what? Pete Buttigieg can take his electric vehicles and its bicycles, and he and his husband can stay out of our girls' bathrooms. DANIEL KLAIDMAN: What goes through your mind when you hear a comment like that? How do you feel when you hear that? PETE BUTTIGIEG: Well, look, again, the reason you hear somebody like that making nonsensical-- literally nonsensical comments like that. I don't know what you would do with an electric vehicle in any bathroom-- is because they don't want to talk about what we're actually working on. They don't want to talk about-- not only do they not have a plan on climate, they don't have a plan on inflation. You know, what we didn't hear was any kind of critique of our actual infrastructure policy, because it's a good policy. It's wildly popular, and it's the right thing to do. So they're going to keep tripling down on anything that can divide, and demonize, and demoralize, and through that, capture attention. And I think we need to also be smart about where we send our attention. I know the most shocking thing somebody said or did yesterday gets the most attention today. But if I were to make a list of the 10, or 20, or 50, or 200 members of Congress whose commentary or thoughts or words, it would be most constructive to be debating or weighing right now, it wouldn't be the two or three members of Congress who get the most attention on Twitter for whatever outrage they tried to outdo each other on yesterday.