President Joe Biden and his administration have been sharply criticized for what has appeared to many to be a belated and lackluster federal response to the Feb. 3 train derailment and resultant toxic chemical spill and fire near East Palestine, Ohio that has caused a major environmental disaster for the town and surrounding area.
Former President Donald Trump just completely upstaged his successor on Wednesday by personally visiting East Palestine and assured the people there that “you are not forgotten,” the Daily Wire reported.
In addition, Trump also oversaw the delivery of thousands of bottles of drinking water and thousands of gallons of donated cleaning supplies for residents to use to help detoxify their homes and belongings.
He even stopped at a local Mcdonald’s to buy lunch for all of the firefighters, police, and first responders in the town.
“We have told you loud and clear: you are not forgotten”
In a press conference during his visit on Wednesday, former President Trump said, “To the people of East Palestine and to the nearby communities in Ohio and Pennsylvania, we have told you loud and clear: you are not forgotten.”
“We stand with you, we pray for you, and we will stay with you,” he added along with high praise for the local firefighters, first responders, and elected officials who were at the forefront of dealing with the derailment and subsequent environmental disaster.
Trump issued harsh criticism toward President Biden and his administration, as they displayed “indifference and betrayal” to the local residents, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency for having at least initially refused to provide any requested disaster relief.
He did note, however, that the administration’s “tune” had changed after he had announced his intent to visit. “They were intending to do absolutely nothing for you,” Trump said. “They could have been here two weeks earlier, at least a week earlier, but they decided to do it this way, and I guess it came from the top.”
The former president further knocked Biden for not having visited the beleaguered town and instead traveling to Poland and Ukraine in recent days, and said, “I sincerely hope that when your representatives and all of the politicians get here, including Biden, they get back from touring Ukraine, that he’s got some money left over.”
Where are Biden and Buttigieg?
According to The Washington Post, Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg finally arrived in East Palestine for the first time since the disaster on Thursday, just one day after former President Trump’s visit.
Quite possibly in response to Trump’s highly critical remarks, Buttigieg vowed that the Biden administration would “never forget the people of East Palestine.”
The likely forced visit and pledge aside, NewsNation reported that President Biden and Sec. Buttigieg have come under relentless fire for not visiting the site of the toxic derailment and appearing to not particularly care about the plight of the local residents who have legitimate and serious concerns about potential health risks related to the burning of the carcinogenic chemicals.
In fact, the outlet noted that in the three weeks since the derailment occurred, Biden has traveled to six other states — four as part of his presidential duties and two for personal travel — and two foreign nations … but not Ohio.
Nor will that change anytime soon, as The Hill reported Thursday that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed to reporters that President Biden has no immediate plans to visit East Palestine either.