Biden announces Pete Buttigieg as his transportation secretary nominee

The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and rival of the president-elect has become a strong ally since the presidential primaries.
22:51 | 12/16/20

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Transcript for Biden announces Pete Buttigieg as his transportation secretary nominee
Hi everyone I'm Diana say there were coming on the air because president elect Joseph Biden is about to speak in Wilmington Delaware. He's expected to introduce. Former South Bend, Indiana mayor and former presidential candidate beat could a judge has his pick for transportation secretary let's listen. It's gonna help us speeches pandemic. Keep us safe and secure and they all our economy back better than ever watched. They include long time colleagues in new faces a new voices. Include people who share and share my views. And those who have different views. They include people who support and my campaign. From its earliest days in people who ran against me. They're experts and policy leaders tested by crises and by the end of this process this cap room we the most represented many cabinet. In American history. We'll have more people of color than any cab you never. Well more women than any Cavagnoud. Quote a cabinet a barrier breakers the cabinet of first. I know how proud presidents are when they're able to achieve a first in their cabinet. I remember when President Clinton and the first ever woman to be secretary of state. I was there on President Obama and and the first ever black attorney general. But compared to the bar my predecessors. Harris Biden cabinet this first among cabinets of all the first it represents. The first ever woman first black woman the first Wilma South Asian descent. As vice president behind me on screen. The first ever black secretary of defense. The first ever Latino head of the DHS the first ever Latino candidate ths. The first well good. The first woman I should say a South Asian American. Descent to lead all indie. The first woman and Asian American to lead the United States trade represented as art league United States trade represented. The first black woman to chair the president's council of economic visors. The first ever woman to hold Alexander Hamilton's position as Treasury Secretary. Our cabinet doesn't just have won first. Or just to of these first but eight precedent busting appointments. Today not. The first ever openly gay nominee to lead the cash I cabinet department and one of the youngest cabinet members ever. The Biden Harris cabinet will be an historic cabinet and cabinet looks like America. The cabin the taps into the best of America a cabinet that is opening doors and breaking down barriers. And access seeing the full range of talent we have so much of the full range of talent in this nation. A cabinet that ups and eyes up to the immediate crises we face and we faced several. In the long term challenge this nation faces in the future are in his cabinet changes a cabinet that's battle tested. Qualified. Experienced. Creative innovative and forward looking and yes represented in it today. I'm proud to nominate its newest member. For secretary of transportation. I nominate Mary precluded judge. I got to know peeing on the campaign trail. He's one of the smartest people ever made him one of the most humble. Mayor from the heartland. Management's current policy wonk with a big car. A veteran who attend the United States navy reserve and intelligence offered deployed to Afghanistan. While he was Mair. A new voice for new ideas determined to move fast all politics. The son of professors. A husband. Is his cousin who's an educated. Always always. A mark of good character as way I look at. By the way Joan I've always enjoy CP Christian. I'm chess and I should say together on the trail chances become close friend of jewels and what I admire about three stooges always clear about who we is what he believes it Ari wants to bring people in not exclude. He's gentle walking a room. We people who aspired to the ability to describe an America that's best for us all of us. And America adds hopeful mole creative and close. An American a can do literally anything. The department transportation services are critical mission with a critical responsibilities particularly in this administration. We need someone who knows how to work with state local and federal agencies. For example right now one in five miles of our highways are still in quote poor condition. According to the society of American engineers. Tens and tens of thousands of bridges. Are in disrepair. Some on the verge of collapse. Present he declared present danger to people's lives. Where the world's richest nation but we're right ten we ranked tenth in overall quality or infrastructure. Cordon the World Economic Forum. It's a shell which we can do. When I think a climate change. I think about jobs. Good paying union jobs. Jobs to put a marriage to work. Making their air cleaner for our kids to breathe. Restoring our crumbling roads bridges and ports making it faster cheaper and cleaner transport American made goods across the country. And around the world. I know that wouldn't you were mayor Pete when people would commend to try to decide we're gonna build something you're insane person there's railroad. What about the water access what about so. This is going to attract. Business. Jobs of the way the lions for the second great railroad revolution which is not only slash pollution or slash commute times. Open up investments in areas connected to metropolitan areas for the first time. You know we selected feature transportation leaves the department received the intersection some or most ambitious plans to build back better. The President Obama for being charged that money Recovery Act just over 800 billion dollars to take us from crisis to recovered two insurgents. Modernizing our transportation infrastructure our roads bridges and ports. For some are most critical investments we invest in more infrastructure. Than anytime since the president Eisenhower and interstate highway projects. Now their projects that traditionally received bipartisan support. But forged public and private partnerships. When we do those public private partnerships and we invest federal money we pulled billions of dollars of private investment for every dollar we put it. Federal dog. May put millions of Americans the work strengthen our economy. Our economic competitiveness and rebuilding our communities for the future. He's got a great perspective. Of the mayors that solves all. And bridge people together. He's got a vision. Of the next generation leader. Ended with the experience and temperament to lead changed today today. To dig us out of this economic crest for example helping cities and states keep transit systems running for Frontline and essential workers. And in helping to modernize their airports reports there are railways. To attract and retain businesses and workers. To advance racial equality racial equity. As we build back better include everyone so zip code doesn't determine your access to a good job. A good school a good education. And health care. To do addicts essential threat of climate change with real jobs. Not just fifteen valve our job to me to call for universal. Four prevailing wages union jobs paid 4550 dollars an hour benefits. Helping cities across the country needed red states and Blue States. Great cities and boosts. To build more climate resilient communities to do with more extreme floods droughts in superstores. Just look around the country get what what are we face. The west is burning. The midwest is being shot in the East Coast to be. Mobile minds more tornadoes and storms who's ever had. Where a state that's three feet above sea level all of us of who the Atlantic Ocean find ourselves of problems in terms of flooding. Look working with states businesses and labor groups all 500000. Charging stations from the next generation of clean vehicles. Smart grid system. Reducing energy consumption rush in to clean energy congress all across America summer you may remember. I met with five meaning CEOs and America. Inspired mean unions where. I didn't pay the president General Motors. After our conversation. Our joint conversation. Picked up the phone call and told Californians say they're dropping his shooting your skills were. There are all in making sure that. They are paid where the first in the world to have switched to be able to get to a carbon neutral. Economic where way to power automobiles as a consequence of dealing with electric vehicles. We can only look to the real mark. He can put those 500000 charges station can put we can put a million jobs back in Detroit in the midwest own cars. You know teach them also carry out the department's Judy you keep America safe on our roads and highways in our skies. Peace can help build back better read jobs and hope we vision and execution. And I am honor I'm monarchies instrument called to serve his country once again. So please welcome. Please welcome the next secretary of transportation. People who do teach. People who. But we've got. It. Ole miss president elect met Bennett vice president elect. Thank you so much for in trusting me with this opportunity to serve the American people I am humbled by your confidence. Eager to do everything in my power to ensure that this administration succeeds. My hometown South Bend, Indiana was built by the power of American transportation. From trade along the river whose band that gives our city its name to the rail lines that connected us to the rest of the country back when we were considered the west. To the livelihoods created. By the good paying union jobs at places like the aeronautical supplier bandits and the giant auto assembly that Studebaker. And now climate and infrastructure innovation are helping bring my community into the 21 century. Also had a personal local transportation ever since childhood. More than once as a college student I would convince a friendship traveled nearly a thousand miles back to Indiana with me on Amtrak. Going noted in this administration wolf it best aspired to be the second biggest train enthusiasts. Around. I spent a spring break in graduate school aboard a cargo ship studying there. Travel in my mind is synonymous with some growth with the venture even loved so much so that. I propose to my husband chest and in an airport terminal. So don't let anybody tell you that O'Hare is a romantic. And want to take this chance to thank chest. For everything that he gives it everything that he sacrifices. To support me in public service. First time I ran for offices on a platform of supporting the Obama Biden administration's rescue of the auto industry. And when I did first take office as mayor. This city fighting its way out of the teeth of the Great Recession infrastructure. Was at the heart of our vision. We re imagined how vehicles and people moved to the city unlocking new economic vibrancy in our urban core. We built up partnerships from a regional collaboration to improve rail service. To public private partnership that put our city if they're cutting edge of bicycle mobility. We develop new forms of support for lower wage workers and their commutes and added electric vehicle charging infrastructure. To help prepare for a more sustainable future. They also dealt with the challenges created by generations. Of Austin inadequate state and federal infrastructure fund. With the just enough resources to replenish the paving of every lane mile of street in our city only every 100 years or so. I faced a constant battle with that natural enemy of all mayors the pothole. And a community where more than a quarter of our residents lived in poverty we worked to fill in the gaps that were created. When under funded transit resources. Left to many cut off from opportunity just because they didn't have the means to own a car. At its best transportation makes the American dream possible. Getting people and goods to where they need to date. Directly and indirectly creating good paying jobs. At its worst misguided policies and missed opportunities. Can reinforce. Racial economic and environmental injustice. Dividing her isolating neighborhoods. Undermining government's basic role to empower for everyone to thrive. But now comes a historic opportunity. This administration can deliver policies. And re sources that will create jobs. Rise to the climate challenge. Hands equitably serve all Americans. All while continuing to ensure the safety. Of travelers and workers alike. America has given this administration a mandate to build back better and step one in building back better literally. Is to build. Americans shouldn't settle for less than our peers. In the developed world when it comes to our roads and bridges are railways and transit systems the US should lead the way. And I know that in this administration. We will. We'll bring together leaders and communities from every corner labor and business left right and center. Urban and rural communities of color tribal nations. Mayors counties states everyone who has a stake in American infrastructure to design a better future. Americans expect us to see to it that the idea of an infrastructure week. It's associated with the results and never again immediate punch line. My view this opportunities also shaped by being the youngest member so far named to this cabinet and the first millennial invited to a seat of that tape. You're generations have a lot at stake in infrastructure policy that by its nature must contemplate both the immediate. End the long term. The question of how America will look by the middle of this century the competitiveness of our comp the security of our climate. For me this is an academic its first. Also mindful that the eyes of history are on this appointment. Knowing that this is the first time an American president has ever cents an openly LG BTQ cabinet members of the senate. For companies for confirmation a I remember watching the news seventeen years old in Indiana. Seeing a story about an appointee of President Clinton named to be an ambassador attacks stands denied a vote in the senate. Because he was get. Ultimately able to serve only by recess appointment. At the time I had no aspirations of being appointed by president to anything at that age I was hoping to be an airline pilot. And I was a long way from coming out even to myself but still I watch that story. I learn something about. Some of the limits that exists in this country. When it comes to who was allowed to belong. But just as important. I saw how those limits could be challenged. So two decades later I can't help but think I was seventeen year old somewhere who might be watching us right now. Somebody who wonders whether and where they belong in the world or even in their own Sam. And I'm thinking about the message that today's announcement is sending to them. So thank you Mr. President elect. Thank you for honoring your commitment to diversity with this administration leaders are. And thank you madam vice president elect for your trailblazing leadership your encouragement. And your friendship. There is no greater source of meaning and professional life. Then the chance to serve others. I felt that meaning every time I laced up my boots when I was in the military every time I came to work when I was a mayor. And I feel it here now joining this historic team with such an important mission preparing to deliver for all Americans. Thank you. I. As president elect Biden and I look ahead to the challenges we will inherent upon walking into the White House. Friendly elect Eleanor is now speaking after president elect Joseph Biden announced his pick for transportation secretary. People who judge the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and one of his former rivals for the democratic presidential nomination. Footage and shot onto the scene early winning the Iowa caucus before eventually dropping out of the race and endorsing Biden. Now if confirmed footage and would be the first LG BTQ cabinet secretary approved by the US senate in history. NBC news political contributor LZ granderson joins me now. For more on this algae thanks for being here I know that you interviewed but a judge when he ran for president. This moment means for the LG BTQ community. Always tremendous. It's also means a great deal for a federal sorts of community is what else because that means society has died two plays and which failed to be teaching people. Can continue to contribute to help America we'll tell them and the need to hide who they really are. When you look throughout history. Home LG BTQ people have been very much involved with a great deal of political as well as social initiatives and yet we've had to serve. In the closet essentially quiet about who we really are. This signals an end to that. This means that little boys and girls who are watching this or watching him in the White House wouldn't know that they are there's a place from them. He plays in the country. Reputation. Matters. NFL's listening to T booed Rodgers I started thinking about my childhood. What was I doing a seventy years ago when I was growing up all we really have was Billy crystal's character on salt. No obvious change since there. Glad glad to see that right and but many didn't think some lives matter leaders have called for Biden not to appoint included judge their pointing to his Smart streets initiative which some say. Created problems in communities of color in South Bend so do think Biden risks losing some support from the black community with this pick. I I do think that there will be initially chatter so sure there's there's an initial chatter. But a lot of mains have been floated out there are more articles say Veres. Clinton no president. Hassell luxury hole surrounded themselves. With people who pass a purity test. Sorrow purity tests are things that activists use in order to decide who and what they're gonna get behind and who and what they're going to pressure about port for an elected official to purity test movie handcuffs you because no one who has served in the public have a perfect record. Has a clean record. I am though however I will say this I am glad that followed the rumored or Rahm Emanuel are did not see the position because only two Buddhist church talked. Robbie Manuel when he was mirror with actively working to carbon. Acquire and that impacted an unarmed African American young man where is he Buddha teaches me terrorists but I don't seeping in its history which was actively supporting an unjust system. So what to understand why people will be upset. Based upon some the things he's done legislatively what he was mayor when you listen to peace. Talk over the years. You realize that he knows he's made a mistake and he's more open to listening and acting purity tests are not useful for people who are elected officials. And LT advise it Biden has now chosen to former rivals for key positions first Connell Harris to be his vice president and now people and a judge. For transportation secretary should we expect to see more on that going forward. I would assume so. You may be call pros and Obama famously. Also included rivals in his cabinet inspired by Abraham Lincoln. Home who. You know headed cabinet of rivals in the home according to Doris Kearns Goodwin who broke the Pulitzer Prize book harvested in Spielberg's movie Lincoln is based on cloak. People from dissenting voices who are strong leaders in their own right allows you to having more robust debate. A weak leader once yes and yes women are strong leaders not afraid of having people who would challenge them and it's only through that challenged he or projects were better solution. Rendell. Thanks for her. And we will have continuing updates right here on ABC news live throughout today Terry Moran and I will have more on the breakdown at 3 PM eastern. And of course we'll have a rap tonight on ABC news live prime right now we wanna take you back to that event in Wilmington Delaware. Garner much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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