Former President Donald Trump traveled to East Palestine, Ohio, on Wednesday to the scene of a catastrophic train derailment, where locals and leaders have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the federal government’s reaction to their safety concerns.
2/22/23 | OHIO… pic.twitter.com/iF5xWDUfEd
— Dan Scavino Jr.🇺🇸🦅 (@DanScavino) February 22, 2023
The excursion occurs at the same time that Trump, who is running for president in 2024, and other Republicans have intensified their criticism of the Biden administration’s handling of the derailment on February 3, which prompted evacuations and raised concerns about the community’s air and water quality after a controlled burning of the toxic chemicals aboard the rail cars.
President Joe Biden took a surprise trip to Kiev, Ukraine, on Monday although he has yet to see the situation in East Palestine firsthand. This prompted outrage from Republicans saying Biden is more interested in Ukraine than the crisis at the border or the release of toxic chemicals into the air and water in East Palestine, Ohio.
“You have a president going to Ukraine and you have people in Ohio that are in desperate need of help,” Trump said on Monday during a speech in West Palm Beach, Florida, days after he announced his upcoming trip to the site.
As the city deals with the fallout from the train crash that resulted in a significant leak of toxic chemicals, Trump is to contribute thousands of gallons of cleaning supplies and more than a dozen pallets of water to the community while in town as well as meet with members of the community and community officials.
After meeting with local leaders in Little Beaver Creek, and telling locals “You are not forgotten” Trump traveled to a fire station about half a mile from the disaster site. Trump spoke to a small group of local leaders, first responders, and the media at the local fire station. Before traveling to East Palestine.
Prior to meeting with East Palestine residents, he also stopped at a creek to look at the water.
“Nineteen days ago tragedy struck this wonderful village and rocked the lives of people throughout this area long beyond this area. You are not forgotten, we stand with you we pray for you and we will stand with you in your fight to help answer and get the accountability that you deserve,” Trump said.
Joining the former president throughout his visit is East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway, U.S. Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH), U.S. Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH), State Representative Monica Robb-Blasdel (R- Columbiana County), and state Senator Michael Rulli (R-Salem) in addition to other statewide and local officials.
Another purpose of Trump’s trip, according to him, was to urge the Biden administration to “move” with greater assistance for the damaged Ohio city. Although Biden Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated on Friday that the president had no imminent plans to visit the neighborhood.
Shortly before Trump arrived in Ohio, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced he would be there on Thursday after also facing criticism for not coming earlier.
“They were doing nothing for you. They were intending to do nothing for you … When I announced that I was coming they changed their tune. It was quite the phenomenon. What this community needs now are not excuses and all the things you’ve been hearing, but answers and results,” Trump said.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Donald Trump in East Palestine” by Dan Scavino Jr.