Trump bashes Biden admin during Ohio train derail tour

Former US President Donald Trump speaks at the East Palestine Fire Department in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 22, 2023. – Hundreds of evacuated residents have been allowed to return home following a cargo train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 3, 2023, however many have voiced alarm over health issues, with some reporting headaches and stating that they fear they may end up with cancer in several years. (Photo by Rebecca DROKE / AFP) (Photo by REBECCA DROKE/AFP via Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday spoke to a crowd in East Palestine, Ohio, and criticized the Biden administration’s response to the area’s toxic train derailment earlier this month.

The former president, who delivered bottled drinking water, was joined by local officials and Ohio Sen. JD Vance and Rep. Bill Johnson, both Republicans.

“To the people of East Palestine — we have told you loud and clear: You are not forgotten,” Trump said.

Hundreds lined the streets of the village to welcome the former president. Some said they hoped his visit would keep attention on the town and their health concerns, nearly three weeks after a train derailed and sent toxic chemicals into the sky over the village.

“We’re just hoping that maybe all this gets cleaned up,” East Palestine resident Donald Hetrick said. “That’s all we want. We just want back to our normal lives here.”

Last week, Trump posted on Truth Social that his visit prompted President Joe Biden, who has not yet visited East Palestine, to send federal aid to the community. Biden instead visited Ukraine this week, to the ire of local Ohio elected leaders.

“Over the past few weeks, the community has shown the tough and resilient heart of America…” Trump said. “Unfortunately, as you know, in too many cases your goodness and perseverance were met with resistance and betrayal in some places.”

Initially, FEMA was not called in for support. The agency has since said it will deploy resources, including teams focused on incident coordination and ongoing assessments of potential long-term recovery needs.

“When I announced that I was coming they changed their tune,” Trump said Wednesday. “It was an amazing phenomenon.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also has been facing mounting pressure following the derailment and response. He is planning to visit the area Thursday.

In a statement issued ahead of Trump’s visit Wednesday, the White House issued a statement, calling out the former administration for “selling them out to rail industry lobbyists” and dismantling existing rail safety protections.

“Congressional Republicans laid the groundwork for the Trump Administration to tear up requirements for more effective train brakes, and last year most House Republicans wanted to defund our ability to protect drinking water,” the statement read.

Trump’s Department of Transportation repealed a rule that would have required faster brakes for trains carrying highly flammable material, although officials don’t believe that would have stopped the East Palestine derailment.

It also halted a guideline that required crews of at least two people on trains. Trump additionally installed a longtime chemical industry leader in a powerful EPA position that favored companies in studying health risks from chemicals.

Trump’s visit included touring a creek that runs into the Ohio River near the derailment site, an update form local leaders, including the mayor and firefighters.

“If they don’t come back and give you the treatment that you need we will be back,” Trump said.


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