Residents of East Palestine fumed after President Joe Biden said Saturday that he’d been too busy to visit their Ohio town, which was impacted by a toxic train derailment seven months and one day ago.
On February 3, a Norfolk Southern freight train slid off the tracks, igniting a huge fire that lasted several days.
While federal officials were on the ground immediately, it took 20 days for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to pay East Palestine a visit, and Biden never scheduled a trip. Trying to show a contrast, former President Donald Trump flew to Ohio the day before Buttigieg’s appearance.
Seven months later, one resident who was interviewed by News Nation called Biden’s lack of interest ‘reprehensible,’ especially after vacationing for much of August.
Resident Tammy Tsai noted how Biden ‘was at his homes in Rehoboth and Wilmington and Lake Tahoe relaxing and having family time.’
‘He should have been here. He should be helping these people. He should learn how to say the name of the town,’ Tsai said.
President Joe Biden was asked Saturday why he never visited East Palestine, Ohio. He was surveying Hurricane Idalia damage in Live Oak, Florida
When Biden was asked about East Palestine on Saturday, he pronounced it ‘-stein’ and not ‘-steen.’
‘Well, I haven’t had the occasion to go to East Palestine. There is a lot going on here, and I just haven’t been able to break,’ Biden said from Live Oak, Florida as he surveyed Hurricane Idalia damage.
‘I was thinking whether I’d go to East Palestine this week, but I then was reminded I’ve got to go literally around the world. I’m going from – from Washington to India to Vietnam to – and so, I – it’s was going to be a while,’ he continued.
‘But we’re making sure that East Palestine has what they need materially in order to deal with their problems,’ Biden added.
On Thursday, Biden leaves for the G20 Summit in New Delhi and then will make a stop in Vietnam before heading back to the U.S.
Before that, he’s expected to travel to Montgomery, County Pennsylvania on Wednesday, however the White House has yet to release additional details on that trip.
Monday marked seven months and one day since the East Palestine, Ohio train disaster and President Joe Biden has yet to make a trip to the town
He slipped in the trip to Florida to survey Idalia damage before heading back to Rehoboth Beach on Sunday.
Biden told reporters leaving church that he wasn’t on ‘vacation’ but rather the Secret Service was making security improvements to his Wilmington home.
The president spoke briefly in Philadelphia Monday morning to mark Labor Day before spending several hours at the Wilmington home before arriving back in D.C. late Monday afternoon.
East Palestine resident Jamie Wallace said, ‘You know at this point, I think it’s pointless to come,’ about a future presidential visit.
‘Just give us the federal support that we need,’ she told News Nation. ‘You’ve already shown us how little you think of us, so coming now would just add to the insult, because we know he would be forced to come in here.’
She pointed to Biden’s Saturday trip to Florida.
‘The only difference between East Palestine and a hurricane, is the hurricane never left from above us, it’s still there seven months later, it’s just invisible,’ she said. ‘You can’t see the homes that it destroyed, that are full of chemicals that people can’t live in.’
‘If he doesn’t care enough about American citizens to come here and visit us, give us the support that we need,’ Wallace added.