White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has refused to say if Biden will ever actually go and visit East Palestine.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Jean-Pierre was asked to clarify why the former Vice President had decided not to visit the Ohio town, after the massive chemical spill relating from a train derailment in February. Instead of travelling to Ohio, Biden went to Ukraine and Poland, something the town’s mayor said was a “slap in the face.”
Jean-Pierre dodged the question, and tried to highlight that the EPA was allegedly on the ground “within hours… taking charge, and dealing with what was occurring in East Palestine.” She added that “very early on,” Biden had “reached out to both governors of Pennsylvania and Ohio… [and] offered the federal assistance and also directed his team to stay on top of this as long as it took.”
However, crucial federal government support, such as assistance from FEMA, was not directed to residents early on, with FEMA only turning up to the Ohio town after 45th President Trump announced he would make a visit.
Despite travelling to Eastern Europe, Biden was still “working and getting updates and focusing on what was happening in East Palestine while he was doing incredibly important work in Poland, and he reaffirmed his commitment to make sure they have everything that they need,” Jean-Pierre argued.
When Jean-Pierre was finally asked point blank as to whether Biden would ever actually go to East Palestine, she confirmed that she did not have “anything to read out or announce on a travel to Ohio” at this time.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who finally turned up to East Palestine on Thursday, one day after Trump came to the town, bringing supplies, including food and water, actually did express regret that he didn’t get on top of the emergency as early as he would have liked.
One reporter noted that Buttigieg only expressed concern for the residents of East Palestine a week and a half after the disaster, despite taking the time to complain that there were too many white people working in construction jobs.
“I felt very strongly about this and could have expressed that sooner,” Buttigieg said. “I was taking pains to respect the role that I have and the role that I don’t have, but that should not have stopped me from weighing in about what I felt about what was happening with this community.”
During his tour of East Palestine on Wednesday, Trump taunted Biden over his failure to turn up to the town, telling him to “get over here.”
This news and commentary by Jack Hadfield originally appeared on Valiant News.