President Joe Biden called for a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Tuesday night, nearly three weeks after the ferocious crash created a major environmental catastrophe.
Biden called Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, Republican Rep. Bill Johnson, EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, the president tweeted.
The calls were made Tuesday night from Poland, after the president delivered his speech at the Royal Castle Gardens in Warsaw ahead of the anniversary of the Ukrainian war.
East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway said it was the “biggest slap in the face” for Biden to visit kyiv, Ukraine, before witnessing the domestic disaster.
‘Yes, Presidents’ Day in our country. It’s…in the Ukraine,” Conaway said. ‘So that tells you what kind of man he is.’
Biden shared a photo of himself on the phone with the leaders of Ohio and Pennsylvania on Tuesday night.
A drone photo of the Norfolk Southern freight train that derailed in eastern Palestine on February 3. The derailment has created a massive environmental disaster in the area.
Biden said he told those officials that he “reaffirmed” his commitment to “make sure they have everything they need.”
He also clashed with some of his critics in the series of tweets.
Former President Donald Trump and several of his Republican allies echoed the East Palestine mayor in complaining that Biden prioritized a trip to Ukraine over the small Ohio town.
Trump, who announced a run for the White House in 2024, will make a rare campaign appearance in the city later Wednesday.
“For years, elected officials, including the last administrator, have limited our ability to implement and strengthen rail safety measures,” Biden said. “Hell, a lot of the finger-pointing elected officials right now want to dismantle the EPA, the agency that makes sure this cleanup happens.
“Rail companies have spent millions of dollars to oppose common sense safety regulations. And it has worked,’ continued the president. “This is more than a train derailment or a toxic waste spill – this is years of opposition to safety measures taking hold.”
Republicans have long supported a less regulated America, yet that included the issue of train brakes.
Republicans politically aligned with former President Donald Trump chided President Joe Biden for his surprise visit to Kiev, Ukraine, on Monday to see Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying he should have prioritized Eastern Palestine, Ohio.
The Trump administration withdrew an Obama-era proposal that would have forced rail companies to install faster brakes on trains carrying highly flammable materials.
Still, Republicans have pounced on Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a potential top contender for the White House in 2024 if Biden decides not to run, for not doing enough for the Ohio community.
‘When our border is in crisis, Joe Biden goes home for a nap in Delaware. When Ohio burns with toxic chemicals, Biden’s administrator says all is well. So on Presidents Day, I’m not surprised Biden is ditching America for Ukraine,” Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz complained on Twitter Monday.
He abandoned the interests of the United States from the beginning of his presidency. They can keep it!
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene had a similar opinion.
‘Biden did not go to East Palestine, Ohio, on President’s Day. He went to the Ukraine, a non-NATO nation whose leader is an actor and apparently now commanding our US military in world war,” Greene tweeted.
‘We must impeach this foolish America Last before it’s too late.’
Biden made himself susceptible to GOP attacks by sending less prominent members of the administration to the spill site and not speaking publicly about the derailment.
Buttigieg has said he will visit East Palestine “when the time is right.”
Michael Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, visited eastern Palestine, and the EPA ordered the railway company, Norfolk Southern, to pay for all the cleanup, Biden noted.
“This is your mess,” Biden said. They should clean it up.
“We will continue to hold rail companies accountable when they fail to put safety first. But first, we need to clean up the mess on Norfolk Southern,” Biden said in a follow-up tweet. “I want affected residents to know that we stand behind them. And as I told your rulers, you will have all the resources you need.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a February 14 press conference that the administration was working “hand in hand” with the state of Ohio.
Two days later, he explained that multiple agencies are responding to the chemical spill, including the EPA, FEMA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.