Now, he’s making history again as the first openly gay man to be nominated to a cabinet role, with President-elect Joe Biden tapping Buttigieg this week as his pick for U.S. transportation secretary.
As Buttigieg accepted the nomination Wednesday afternoon, he recalled how as a 17-year-old in Indiana, he watched the experience of James Hormel, who President Bill Clinton nominated as ambassador to Luxembourg in 1998 — an appointment Senate Republicans balked at for two years in protest.
“I can remember watching the news… (and) seeing a story about an appointee of President Clinton named to be an ambassador attacked and denied a vote in the Senate because he was gay — ultimately able to serve only by a recess appointment,” he said. “And I learned something about some of the limits that exist in this country when it comes to who is allowed to belong. But just as important, I saw how those limits could be challenged.”