White House cabinet officials’ past comments on fossil fuels and switching to electric vehicles amid high energy costs is indicative of Beltway insiders living in a “policy fantasyland,” Heritage Foundation President Dr. Kevin Roberts told Fox News Digital in a recent interview.
Roberts said officials like Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm have “toned down” their discourse in those regards after “getting burned” by a populace feeling the effects of a faltering economy – but added their comments still show little regard for the working class.
During a recent House hearing, Buttigieg told Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., that “the more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicle.”
Gimenez responded by asking if that meant the “more pain we have, the more benefit,” to which Buttigieg replied the Miami lawmaker only “wanted” him to say it that way.
Last year, Granholm guffawed at a Bloomberg anchor’s question regarding plans to lower oil prices:
“That is hilarious, would that (sic) if I had the magic wand,” she said, adding in March the Russian invasion of Ukraine presented the U.S. with an opportunity to “act on clean energy.”
Roberts criticized such instances, saying the administration still appears fully vested in a rapid green energy conversion.
“Unfortunately, I’ve not seen any change in tact,” Roberts told Fox News Digital. “In other words, all the plans that we see coming down the pike; that is, rules and proposed rules and regulations, reflect the condescending rhetoric of these cabinet secretaries,”
“I have not heard, since then, either of those secretaries … using that same kind of condescending language, because thankfully they got burned for saying it.”
Roberts also compared support for a transition from fossil fuels to the global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda, saying the same type of working class people suffering abroad under ESG governance are the ones in America also feeling the pinch from high oil prices and the like.
“I just thought it was very telling about the real key repercussion of ESG if it’s fully implemented – and it is that the working-class American – who [isn’t] living just paycheck to paycheck and have just a little bit better situation than that,” Roberts said. “These are the people those kinds of comments really offend.”
Roberts suggested the push for curbing U.S. fossil fuel use in favor of green alternatives is not geared toward benefiting the average American, but instead Beltway insiders and their aligned academics who seek ideological ends.
Such ideas “come from people who live in the ivory tower of D.C. who think that they’re in some sort of policy fantasyland,” he said.
In response to Robert’s comments, a spokesperson for Buttigieg pointed to the secretary’s July interview with the Big Boy’s Neighborhood radio show in Los Angeles, when he said the Biden administration has indeed taken steps to make flex-fuel ethanol blends more accessible for gas-powered vehicles and supported a federal gas tax holiday for short-term relief, while explaining longer-term solutions:
“We’re for cutting the costs of electric vehicles — because when you have an electric vehicle, then you’re also going to be able to save on gas, but you’ve got to be able to afford it in the first place,” Buttigieg told Big Boy.
“Now, we’re actually starting to see on some models the costs come to where even if your car payment is a little higher, your gas payment will be a little lower, and you come out ahead. But the prices still need to come down for most Americans to get an EV — We could do that with legislation in Congress,” said Buttigieg.
The Transportation Department spokesperson cited figures in a June Consumer Reports analysis reflecting points of Buttigieg’s testimony in the House Transportation and Infrastructure hearing in which he sparred with Gimenez, reflecting a price drop for EV car models such as the Chevrolet Bolt, then quoted at around $27,000 new.
A spokesperson for Granholm responded that the secretary “has always made clear the Administration’s efforts to make electric vehicles cheaper to purchase so that more Americans can have access to the economic and climate benefits that EVs offer.”
In response to the Bloomberg interview, the spokesperson said Granholm does not dictate actions of the oil and gas industry, adding the question posed by the anchor failed to understand Granholm’s role in the government.
“As the administration’s methodical releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve have contributed to lowering gas prices by 40 [cents per gallon] Secretary Granholm continues to call on the oil and gas industry to do their part in ensuring Americans have a reliable sources of energy,” the spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
In his interview with Fox News Digital, Roberts also reacted to Biden’s recent Saudi Arabia trip, where he made a heavily-criticized fist-bump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Roberts said the move was ill-advised and misdirected.
“It was the fist-bump from hell,” Roberts said. “And what I mean by that is, not to criticize any president who’s traveling the world, I think we need our president, whoever he is making sure that American interests are reflected abroad – the problem is, it was groveling to an autocrat.”
If Biden wants to give fist-bumps to encourage increased energy production, Roberts added, he should go to Texas, Pennsylvania or Alaska and greet the thousands of oil and gas workers there in kind.
“[They] would love their companies to be drilling more and exploring more,” he said, as the president has restricted speculation on federal lands and canceled domestic pipeline projects.
The U.S. energy workers know best it is possible for America to power itself via our vast reserves, Roberts added, pointing to Trump-era output creating virtual self-reliance:
“[A]s we witnessed just three years ago, America can be self-sustaining with energy. We don’t need to go around the world groveling to autocrats like the leader of Saudi Arabia,” he said. “And certainly, we don’t need photo-ops like a fist bump when it’s the American worker who needs it.”