Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is heading to East Palestine, Ohio, on Thursday following former President Donald Trump’s visit to the affected area.
Trump visited East Palestine — the community rattled by a train derailment and subsequent release of toxic chemicals — on Wednesday, delivering truckloads of bottled water to residents as concerns continue to arise over the safety of the air and water in the area.
“President Trump is meeting with the citizens of East Palestine, and he will never forget them and what they are going through. Contrast that with Biden and the federal government, who have failed them from the beginning,” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told Breitbart News.
NOW – Trump arrives in East Palestine, Ohio.pic.twitter.com/ctax2YM7Ji
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) February 22, 2023
Buttigieg, who has come under fire for his delayed response to transportation-related incidents over the past several months, said earlier this week that he would visit the area “when the time is right.” However, it now appears that time is suddenly now, conveniently in the wake of Trump’s visit.
The press release announced:
Tomorrow, Thursday, February 23, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will travel to East Palestine, Ohio, to meet with community members affected by the Norfolk Southern hazardous train derailment, receive an update on the ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is expected to issue its initial findings on Thursday, and hear from USDOT investigators who were on the ground the hours after the Norfolk Southern derailment and are supporting the NTSB investigation.
According to the press release, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Administrator Amit Bose and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Deputy Administrator Tristan Brown will join Buttigieg on the trip:
— David Shepardson (@davidshepardson) February 22, 2023
Buttigieg’s visitation, seemingly prompted by Trump’s stop, also comes ahead of President Biden visiting the area, as he opted to visit Ukraine this week instead.