Donald Trump will visit the Ohio community affected by a toxic train derailment on Wednesday, 19 days after the accident but still before President Joe Biden or Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Republicans are reeling because Biden hasn’t visited Ohio himself, or at least sent Buttigieg there to survey the damage and speak with local leaders about how the administration can best help.
Buttigieg, however, assures that he will visit East Palestine, Ohio, claiming that he did not want to visit preemptively just for a photo op, which he suggested Trump is doing.
On February 3, a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed early, releasing large amounts of toxic chemicals into the air, water and soil, forcing residents to evacuate out of fear for their health. Some complained of headaches and other symptoms.
Biden’s trip to Ukraine and Poland this week caused a stir among Republicans who demanded answers about why he went to the war-torn country before first tackling issues at home.
Former President Donald Trump to visit the site of the Ohio train derailment Wednesday afternoon
The derailment of a 50-car freight train in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3 released toxic chemicals into the air, soil, and water, forcing the community to evacuate after experiencing symptoms such as aches and pains. upside down
Biden finally broke his silence on the derailment with a Twitter thread on Tuesday following his speech in Poland criticizing Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. She made five calls Tuesday night from Warsaw, Poland.
The president noted that he spoke with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio Representative Bill Johnson, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and Ohio Governor MikeDeWine.
Eastern Palestine is right next to the Pennsylvania border and is about 35 miles from Pittsburgh.
“I have reaffirmed my commitment to make sure they have everything they need,” Biden wrote in a thread posted on his official Twitter late Tuesday.
He noted that the EPA ordered Norfolk Southern, the owner and operator of the train, to fund cleanup efforts and removal of runoff and burning of hazardous materials.
This is common sense. This is her job. They should clean it up,” Biden wrote.
Biden also blamed the disaster on his predecessor, saying Trump implemented policies that made it difficult to strengthen and enforce rail safety.
“For years, elected officials, including the last administrator, have limited our ability to implement and strengthen rail safety measures,” Biden wrote. “Hell, a lot of the finger-pointing elected officials right now want to dismantle the EPA, the agency that makes sure this cleanup happens.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg suggested Tuesday that Trump’s trip to Ohio is just a photo op and said he would also make a visit to eastern Palestine after backlash for not already going to the community.
Biden has received a great deal of criticism for traveling to the Ukraine and Poland this week before visiting Ohio.
“I want affected residents to know that we stand behind them,” Biden insisted. “And as I told your rulers, you will have all the resources you need.”
However, East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway is not convinced that Biden is committed to helping his community; instead, he says that he is “furious” that Biden chose to visit the Ukraine this week before coming to Ohio.
Eastern Palestine is still reeling from the aftermath of the 50-car derailment, and Conway says Biden’s refusal to focus on internal affairs and instead parade in the war-torn Eastern European country was a “slap”.
Buttigieg, however, downplayed the need for an administration official to come survey the damage and visit the community affected by the toxic shock.
He also suggested that Trump’s trip to Ohio on Wednesday is just a photo op as part of his 2024 campaign.
Trump announced his third run for the White House on November 15. He hasn’t held many public events since he announced his candidacy during a rally at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Last month he visited the states of New Hampshire and South Carolina in the early days of the primary race for campaign events that were much more intimate than Trump’s usual mass rallies.
Biden’s team has repeatedly blamed Trump for the derailment and has refused to do much to get hands-on to address the problem as the public calls for a visit from the president to the community.
East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway (center) told Fox News this week that he is “furious.” President Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine before visiting the site of the Ohio train derailment, calling the move a “slap in the face.”
It is true that some policies were implemented during the Trump presidency that affected rail safety, including the withdrawal of an Obama-era proposal that required faster brakes on trains carrying highly flammable materials. It also ended regular rail safety audits.
“Our team is working in unison with state and local officials and was on the ground hours after the train derailed,” Biden said.
He said the EPA has already reviewed more than 500 homes in the area and is “monitoring air and water quality.”
The administration also deployed chemical assessment personnel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resources to East Palestine.
“The Department of Transportation has made it clear to the rail companies that their pattern of resistance to safety regulations has to change,” Biden wrote in his Twitter thread Tuesday night.
‘Congress should join us in implementing rail safety measures.’