Sarah May
February 11, 2024

Biden heading to East Palestine one year after devastating train derailment

After a year of claims that he has neglected the residents of East Palestine, Ohio, following a devastating 2023 train derailment and chemical spill, President Joe Biden is finally being forced – perhaps by the realities of a re-election campaign – to leave the White House and head to the midwestern town, as The Hill reports.

Biden's trip, scheduled for Feb. 16, was announced in a White House advisory issued on Saturday, which explained that the president will “discuss how the Administration is continuing to work with state and local officials to hold Norfolk Southern accountable and support the community as it moves forward.”

Rebuilding process continues

As the Washington Examiner notes, it was almost exactly a year ago that 38 rail cars transporting hazardous materials were allowed to burn for a series of days following their derailment.

Mass evacuations ensued, and health concerns have persisted among area residents, and despite widespread outcry about a perceived lack of appropriate federal response, Biden has yet to visit those impacted by the incident.

Trent Conway, mayor of East Palestine, was among those who was long critical of Biden's apparent lack of interest in the citizenry's needs, but expressed hope about the impending visit, suggesting “we can get some of these answers to some of these lingering health concerns.”

Speaking to where things stand one year after the disaster, Conway said, “For the most part, everybody is doing good, you know, it's coming back to life. We're getting out of the cleanup phase.”

“We're getting into the economic development phase and try[ing] to get some lifeblood pumped back into this town,” he added.

Trump weighs in on delayed visit

Former President Donald Trump was among the first high-profile individuals to visit East Palestine in the immediate aftermath of last year's derailment,

He brought with him truckloads of drinking water, food, and cleaning supplies, while also meeting with local officials to hear their concerns about the potential long-term impact of the accident.

Given the divergence between his approach and that of Biden, Trump has, unsurprisingly, been publicly critical of the news that the current president was finally planning a trip to Ohio.

Writing on his Truth Social platform, Trump said, as The Hill reported separately, “With the World blowing up around us, with the Middle East on FIRE, Biden has finally decided to visit East Palestine, Ohio, a year late, and only to develop some political credibility because EVERYTHING else he has done has been such a DISASTER.”

“I know those great people, I was there when it counted, and his reception won't be a warm one,” Trump warned, but whether his prediction proves true, only time will tell.

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