Buttigieg, husband Chasten mocked for complaining about high rent in DC

'We couldn’t afford the one-bedroom-plus-den,' Chasten said

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is getting roasted on social media after his husband complained about rent prices in Washington, D.C., claiming they couldn’t afford anything bigger than a one-bedroom apartment.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Buttigieg's husband, Chasten Buttigieg, said their new Eastern Market digs are a far cry from the price of living in their old city of South Bend, Indiana, where Pete served as mayor from 2012 to 2020. 

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"We couldn’t afford the one-bedroom-plus-den," Chasten said.

Instead, they’re renting an 800-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment, sans den, in a high-security building, where the rent for one-bedrooms now starts at $4,500 per month, The Post reported, adding that the rent is higher since the Buttigieges signed a lease last winter.

"We’re doing fine for ourselves, and [yet] the city is almost unaffordable," Chasten told the paper. "Which tells you how extremely unaffordable it is for many people." 

The transportation secretary’s salary is $221,400, while Chasten, a former middle school drama teacher, is currently unemployed. In addition to their D.C. apartment, the couple owns a home on Lake Michigan in Traverse City, which they purchased this year after selling their home in South Bend, The Post reported. 

The couple's favorite pastime, according to The Post, is now "playing Zillow Price Is Right, where they try to guess the out-of-reach appraisal values of homes they admire and then look up the actual estimate online."

Commentators on both sides of the political aisle mocked the Buttigieges for the comments, adding that most Americans don’t have the luxury of having two residences.

"Imagine being so far removed from the real world that you complain about your $4,500/mo apartment not having a den," tweeted Abigail Marone, press secretary for Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. "Americans are struggling to afford basic necessities thanks to #bidenflation but poor Pete & Chasten don't get a den in their high-end building. Boo hoo."

"You can get a nice 1BR (or a 2BR in some cases) for significantly less than $4,500 a month in DC..." wrote Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey.

"My roommate and I have a 2 bed/2 bath + den in the middle of the city and our rent costs nowhere near $4500 a month," wrote CBS News reporter Kathryn Watson.

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"Hilarious how Mr. Wine Cave Buttigieg is whining that he ONLY makes $221,400 a year," tweeted Club for Growth senior analyst Andrew Follett. "The problem isn't DC's real estate market (which I've personally lived with and in for years)...it's that Dems elites are incredibly fiscally irresponsible...even in their personal lives."

"If you can’t afford an apartment in Washington DC while making over $220,000 a year (just from the Transportation Sec salary - who knows what other money he has), you shouldn’t be overseeing any federal agency," wrote former Nevada GOP chairwoman Amy Tarkanian.