President Joe Biden and his administration have faced increasing criticism and dissatisfaction with the way that the toxic chemical spill from a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio has been handled over the past couple of weeks, especially the lack of personal visits to the site by top-ranked administration officials or the president himself.
In a move that will likely provoke a reaction from Presiden Biden, it was revealed on Friday that former President Donald Trump will soon pay a personal visit to the scene of the accident and environmental disaster, Breitbart reported.
Trump will visit derailment disaster site
In a Friday evening tweet, Fox News correspondent Garrett Tenney reported that he had learned from sources that former President Trump would visit East Palestine in Ohio to “tour the damage of the Norfolk Southern derailment and cleanup efforts” on Wednesday next week.
A source familiar confirms to Fox News that former President Trump will visit East Palestine, OH on Wednesday to tour the damage of the Norfolk Southern derailment and cleanup efforts.
— Garrett Tenney (@Garrett_FoxNews) February 17, 2023
That was seemingly confirmed just an hour later by the former president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who tweeted, “Breaking News: Trump will visit East Palestine, Ohio next week. If our ‘leaders’ are too afraid to actually lead real leaders will step up and fill the void.”
WH defends response, but no plans for Biden to visit
The Washington Examiner reported Friday that the White House had announced that it would soon dispatch teams of experts from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the scene of the derailment that occurred on Feb. 3 in order to “conduct public health testing and assessments” in the aftermath of the spillage and burning of several highly toxic and carcinogenic chemicals.
During Friday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre staunchly defended the administration’s response to the incident, though it didn’t appear that she addressed the fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had declined an urgent request from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and other elected officials for desperately needed assistance.
And when asked when President Biden might pay a visit to the area, she first deflected to point out that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan had already visited and then said, “I just don’t have anything to share about the President’s schedule. As you know, he’ll be in Poland the beginning of next week.”
A new “political headache” for Biden
None of that will do much to quell the growing backlash and criticism, from Republicans and Democrats alike, against the “delayed and lackluster response” to the crisis by the Biden administration, according to The Washington Post.
Particular ire has been aimed at Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg, as aside from a few statements and tweets and appearances on cable news — in which he has maliciously and falsely sought to blame the disaster on the prior administration — he has otherwise been missing in action over the past two weeks and has not yet personally visited the scene.
Meanwhile, some residents of East Palestine and the surrounding area have complained of feeling unwell due to the noxious fumes and there are very real concerns about the potential long-term impacts on people’s health — not to mention animals and food and water supplies — from prolonged exposure to the dangerous chemicals that were leaked and burned following the derailment.
More broadly, the Post noted that the incident has called into question and undermined the administration’s claims of “competence” to deal with adversities and has created a new “political headache” for President Biden’s White House.
“We got them to ‘move'”
That “political headache” was only made worse Saturday morning when former President Trump, on his Truth Social site, posted, “Biden and FEMA said they would not be sending federal aid to East Palestine. As soon as I announced that I’m going, he announced a team will go. Hopefully he will also be there.”
“This is good news because we got them to ‘move.’ The people of East Palestine need help. I’ll see you on Wednesday!” Trump added.