OAN Roy Francis
12:20 PM PT – Saturday, February 25, 2023
President Joe Biden revealed that he has no plans to visit the town of East Palestine, Ohio because he had a zoom meeting with his team.
On Friday evening, as the president was leaving the White House to make his way to his Wilmington, Delaware residence for the weekend, a reporter asked if he plans on visiting East Palestine.
“At this point, I’m not. I did a whole video, I mean, um, what the hell, on…” Biden said, struggling once again to finish his sentence.
“Zoom?” a reporter suggested.
“Zoom!” All I can think of every time I think of Zoom is that song in my generation, ‘Who’s Zooming who?” Biden replied.
Biden then went on to explain that he has had a long meeting with the team that is responding to the crisis, and that they had been there two hours after the train derailed. He also added that he has gotten no “request” to make the trip out there before he had left for Ukraine.
“Wait, wait, wait, let me answer the question. The answer is that I’ve had a long meeting with my team and what they’re doing,” he said. “You know, we were there two hours after the train went down. Two hours. I’ve spoken with every single major figure in both Pennsylvania and in Ohio. And so the idea that we’re not engaged is simply not there. And initially, there was not a request for me to go out before I was heading over to Kyiv. So, I’m keeping very close tabs on it. We’re doing all we can.”
Biden was not the only one caught in a blunder. United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, had made the trip to East Palestine on Thursday. During a press conference he was asked about the long wait before his response to the derailment.
“The answer to your question is yes,” he said. “I felt strongly about this and could have expressed that sooner. Again, 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 how I felt about what was happening to this community.”
Buttigieg made the trip around the same time that the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) report on the investigation that was conducted into the derailment was released. The report stated that a hot axle was the cause of the incident.
“After the train stopped, the crew observed fire and smoke and notified the Cleveland East dispatcher of a possible derailment. With dispatcher authorization, the crew applied handbrakes to the two railcars at the head of the train, uncoupled the head-end locomotives, and moved the locomotives about 1 mile from the uncoupled railcars,” the NTSB said. “Responders arrived at the derailment site and began response efforts.”
Emergency personnel had performed a controlled release and burn of the toxic material after the derailment on February 3rd. Norfolk Southern reported on Monday that 15,000 pounds of soil and over one million gallons of water have been removed from the area due to contamination.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio officials both claim that the air and water is safe for the residents in the town. However, reports of health issues with residents and their pets are continuing to mount. Animals, particularly aquatic life, have been reportedly dying as well, even miles away from the site.
Former President Donald Trump had flown to East Palestine on Wednesday, bringing with him thousands of gallons of cleaning supplies, and over a dozen pallets of drinking water. The former president met with officials in the area, and reiterated that he only wanted to help the town, and to encourage the Biden administration to make more effort into the situation that has unfolded.