Biden still a no show in East Palestine

Weeks after a toxic mushroom cloud rose up over the small town of East Palestine, Ohio, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg finally made a brief appearance at the site of the wreck wearing his fashionable boots. By then, of course, thousands of fish and other animals had died and residents were reporting skin rashes and sore throats, but I’m sure everything is just fine. 

But what about Mayor Pete’s boss, President Joe Biden? Does he have any plans to come out and personally inspect the damage or ensure that appropriate testing is being done to ensure the future health and welfare of the residents? 

Apparently not. 

As Biden was heading out of Washington for yet another weekend of “personal time” in Delaware, a reporter asked him if he planned on going to Ohio. I’m afraid that’s going to be a hard nope. And besides, Biden argued, nobody had even asked him to come.

From the NY Post:

As he prepared to board Marine One for a weekend getaway to Delaware on Friday, President Biden told reporters that he has no plans to visit East Palestine, Ohio — and that he hasn’t been invited amid rancor over the administration’s handling of the toxic train derailment.

“At this moment, no,” Biden, 80, responded outside the White House when asked if he had any plans to visit the town near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, where dangerous chemicals spilled onto the ground and toxic smoke billowed into the air after a Norfolk Southern train derailed on Feb. 3…

“And so, the idea that we’re not engaged is simply not there. In addition, there was not a request for me to go out, even before I was heading over to Kyiv,” Biden argued.

I’m sorry (not sorry), but since when does the President of the United States require an invitation to tour a disaster area? Who was he waiting for an invitation from? I’m not saying he really would have accomplished anything in Ohio beyond tying up traffic with his motorcade, but you could at least pretend to be interested, couldn’t you?

Of course, it’s possible that Biden’s decision (or the call made by whoever is making decisions for him these days) to head back to his Delaware mansion rather than go to Ohio might be for the best. Listening to his response, Biden delivered his usual, confused, rambling monologue, leaving me wondering if he actually knew what situation he was being asked about. What could he contribute to the efforts being made on the ground, aside from possibly prodding the EPA and the Transportation Department to do better?

But that’s not going to happen. The people of East Palestine are right to be offended, but a trip like this just wouldn’t be Biden’s style. When storms and flooding ravaged some cities in California in January, the President was quick like a bunny to fly out there and promise them financial relief while posing for photo ops with Gavin Newsom. But those are his people. They voted for him.

The people of East Palestine are not Joe Biden’s people. Few of them voted for him. They’re just low-income, primarily white people from a rural area. What happens to them is no big deal. That fact should be obvious to everyone by now.

As to the idea that the contamination has been contained and the area is safe, you can dispel that illusion as well. It was bad enough that officials in Texas and Michigan are currently freaking out because nobody told them that water and soil from Ohio were being shipped to their states for disposal. Health officials agree that the residents of the area will have to be monitored for years because nobody is sure about the long-term effects of even brief exposure to the carcinogenic chemicals burned off from the spill. And the Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced yesterday that they have counted more than 43,000 fish and other animals that have died since the derailment.

But don’t worry. I’m sure it’s all just fine. This sort of thing happens all the time, or so we’re being told.

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