Monday Last showStephen Colbert invited Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to discuss the massive infrastructure spending pushed by the Biden administration. Speaking to the person who oversees the country’s transportation system, Colbert would surely ask Buttigieg some tough questions about where the money is going and how to ensure that taxpayer money is not wasted. No of course not!
“Now everyone, including myself in today’s monologue, is talking about Thursday’s bipartisan infrastructure bill,” Colbert told Buttigieg:
“So let’s call it, roughly, a trillion dollar infrastructure spending. It adds up. A trillion dollars. As someone who oversees the transportation system or the administration of our transportation system, do you have any say in how it’s spent? “Well yeah. I mean, it’s part of my job,” replied the cabinet secretary.
“Okay. So, did you think that when you took on this job, he was going to have this big silver gun that you could point – I mean, in a positive way, have a cash injection? that? ” Asked Colbert, excited to see how Americans’ money would be wasted.
“Explain to me, like I’m a kid, what’s going to happen with the trillions of dollars,” Colbert asked Buttigieg as his audience laughed and cheered.
“Okay. Well, Stephen – When you get $ 1.2 trillion, which is $ 1,200,000,000,000, which is 1,200,000,000,000, do I understand correctly?” Buttigieg asked.
“I didn’t know there would be math,” Colbert said, making his audience laugh more.
Buttigieg then spat on all the ways the money would be spent, resulting in greater debt for the United States: “Our airports should be the envy of the world. Tunnels – actually, I spent part of today in the Hudson River tunnel, which is infrastructure – looks like people here know.
There are examples of that in small towns, big cities across the country, ”Buttigieg continued. He then proclaimed:
“Now is our chance to have the best bridges, roads and tunnels, transit, trains – I always thought I’d be the biggest guy in passenger rail, but obviously in this administration I’m second but I try to make it close to a second. This is the largest investment in passenger rail since the inception of Amtrak.
It ended with more thunderous applause and Colbert praised Buttigieg for being a typical politician.
Here’s a transcript of the June 28 show:
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
PETE BUTTIGIEG: Well, the most important thing was to think about everything that has changed and how much change is possible, and it’s not just – I mean, definitely being the first cabinet member confirmed by the Senate, should I say, to be historically accurate. But not too long ago, in the 1950s, there was the fear of lavender. You couldn’t even be an accountant or an astronomer in government without your job being threatened if you were gay. So I wanted to give an idea of how much has changed in a short time, but also how far we need to go. As we speak in states across the country there are politicians who have decided it is good policy to attack transgender children, some of the most vulnerable in our society. High school is terrifying when you’re not transgender. And these kids have the courage to be who they are and they want to be accepted and go to the bathroom and play sports like everyone else and live. What’s really dangerous is that if you have people in positions of responsibility whose position is basically that transgender people don’t exist, some young people will hear this message as being that transgender people shouldn’t exist and some will believe it.
STEPHEN COLBERT: I hadn’t heard that argument, it doesn’t exist in transgender people
BUTTIGIEG: If you think about it, that’s what their point comes down to, isn’t it, that they’re a little bit wrong one way or another. But what we’re talking about is someone’s ability to live and live well, and that’s one of the fundamental things that politicians are responsible for securing, not threatening. So I hope it will not be good policy to attack transgender children when these political attacks and terrible laws are pushed back. So that was the other part of my message.
COLBERT: It’s up to the voters to think about these decisions they make. Now everyone including myself in today’s monologue is talking about Thursday’s bipartisan infrastructure bill
BUTTIGIEG: Okay, yeah
COLBERT: Okay, okay. So let’s call it a $ 1 trillion infrastructure spending. It adds up. A trillion dollars, as someone who oversees the transportation system or the administration of our transportation system, do you have any say in where it is spent?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, yeah. I mean, it’s part of my job.
COLBERT: Okay. So, did you think that when you took on this job, he was going to have this big silver gun that you could point – I mean, in a positive way, have a cash injection? And that ? A silver vaccine so you can put it in – what do you want to spend it on? Can we finally make the Golden Gate Bridge really golden or something like that? Can we do something? What can we do? What would be the first priority?
BUTTIGIEG: It might not be the best use of taxpayer dollars.
COLBERT: People often say how does it feel to talk to the mayor at the time, Pete? I say it’s interesting, he’s a politician but he actually answers the question you can ask him and answers it in a very simple and clear way. Explain to me, as if I were a child, what is going to happen with the billions of dollars.
BUTTIGIEG: Okay. Well, Stephen- When you get $ 1.2 trillion, which is $ 1,200,000,000,000, which is 1,200,000,000,000 – is that correct?
COLBERT: I didn’t know there would be math
BUTTIGIEG: So look, there are roads and bridges. They are in bad shape. We have thousands and thousands of bridges that need to be fixed. We need to improve our airports. I mean, if you travel overseas, you see the status of other airports. Our airports should be the envy of the world. Tunnels – I actually spent part of the day in the Hudson River tunnel, which is infrastructure – Seems like people here know that.
COLBERT: He’s got a fancy new name.
BUTTIGIEG: Hudson River Tunnel, part of the Gateway project
COLBERT: Yes, the Gateway project
BUTTIGIEG: The number of passengers, the number of trains going through this tunnel and if it broke down it would cripple the northeast corridor. It would be so destructive to our economy that you would feel the impact in Indiana where I come from. It has the best technology and construction engineering from 1-9d 10. But we depend on 110 years old infrastructure. So fixing this tunnel and the bridges leading to it are examples of the kinds of things that we haven’t been able to invest in in this country. There are examples of it in small towns, big cities across the country. Now is our chance to have the best bridges, roads and tunnels, public transport, trains – I always thought I would be the biggest guy in passenger rail, but obviously in this administration I’m second but j try to do it for a second. This is the largest investment in passenger rail since the inception of Amtrak.