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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is declining to rule out a future presidential bid, offering only that he doesn’t “know what’s going to happen in the future” when asked about a potential White House run.
In a wide-ranging interview on CNN’s “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” that will air at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, Buttigieg said he was “not ruling out” another White House campaign but maintained that he felt fulfilled in his current role.
“I’m 40. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I do know that. I’ve been entrusted with this amazing opportunity and responsibility to help shape the infrastructure we’re going to be living with and working with and counting on for the rest of our lives,” he said.
Buttigieg is widely expected to run to succeed President Joe Biden – whether an open race emerges in 2024 or 2028 – and he’s become the most requested surrogate on the campaign trail for Democratic candidates in the midterms, people familiar with the requests tell CNN.
The question of Biden’s political future will be front-and-center for Democrats after November’s midterm elections, in which the party is fighting to keep control of Congress. Already, the President’s responses to whether he will mount another bid for the White House have injected questions into the developing 2024 race.
At 79, Biden is already the oldest president in American history, and, as CNN previously reported, his public schedule has previously led to questions about how extensive a campaign he’d engage in if he runs.
“The decision is very much above my pay grade,” Buttigieg said of another Biden White House bid. “There’s one person who gets to make that decision. But what I will say is that this President, this administration, have been repeatedly underestimated and have repeatedly delivered.”
Buttigieg had mounted a stout presidential campaign in 2019 and 2020, despite starting with very little national recognition or political experience. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, narrowly won the Iowa caucuses, becoming the first gay presidential candidate in American history to win primary delegates from a major party.
He ended his campaign shortly before Super Tuesday in March 2020, after his path to victory had clearly closed following a poor showing in South Carolina.
Reflecting on his decision to launch that campaign, Buttigieg explained, “I wanted to be president enough to run for president, although I didn’t ever run because it was a thing I wanted to have. I ran because there was a moment where I thought what I had to offer matched what the moment called for.”
“And that’s how I think about running for office. I’ve used that process to run for office before. And I’ve used that process that decision process to decide not to run for office before. And I know it sounds like the right thing to say politically, it is the right thing to say politically is also true, that I don’t know what the future looks like, or whether those stars will ever align in the future,” he continued.
“What I do know is I already have a job, and it’s a great job.”