by WorldTribune Staff, February 23, 2023
Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday donated thousands of gallons of cleaning supplies and more than a dozen pallets of water to the East Palestine, Ohio community as it struggles, without assistance from the Biden administration, with the aftermath of a Feb. 3 train derailment which led to a large release of toxic chemicals.
Later on Wednesday, Trump ordered a “nice array” of McDonald’s for first responders and residents of East Palestine.
“So, I know this menu better than you do. I probably know it better than anybody in here,” Trump told the McDonald’s employees before indicating that he would take care of meals for the town’s police and fire departments, and everyone in the restaurant.
The village of just under 5,000 residents near the Pennsylvania state line in Columbiana County voted overwhelmingly for Trump in the 2020 election.
Many pundits believe that is why Joe Biden hasn’t bothered to visit or really even acknowledge East Palestine.
“Biden, who likes to think he can connect with the average person by saying ‘buddy’ and ‘pal’ a lot, has not come anywhere near East Palestine or declared a federal disaster since the train derailment more than two weeks ago, spilling toxic chemicals into the ground, water and air,” the Boston Herald’s Joe Battenfeld noted in a Feb. 22 op-ed. “Biden made a ‘secret’ visit to Ukraine rather than go to Ohio, showing where his priorities lie.”
Conservative commentator Jack Posobiec noted in a Telegram post: “I see these images from East Palestine and just think, wow, look at all the white privilege these people have. There would’ve been a charity concert featuring the Obamas, John Legend, The Rock, and Cardi B by now if East Palestine was a blue city. But it’s ‘flyover’ country so none of them lift a finger.”
East Palestine, Ohio mayor ‘furious’ with Biden’s Ukraine visit: ‘That was the biggest slap in the face’ https://t.co/w5mEAfkuxf
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 21, 2023
The New York Post editorial board noted on Feb. 19: “Here’s the bottom line on the East Palestine, Ohio horror so far: The White House (and national Dems in general) don’t care about what happens to average Americans. How else to explain the bizarre, discombobulated response” from Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg “on down?”
Buttigieg finally made it to East Palestine on Thursday, almost three weeks after the train derailment.
“Trump came with water and supplies on Wednesday. He bought a ton of McDonald’s for first responders and residents in the area. Buttigieg came with a hard hat and an attitude, at 7 a.m. in the morning,” Red State’s Nick Arama noted.
“What can [Pete Buttigieg] do on the ground today that would actually help you guys?”
“I think that for a lot of people it’s a little — no matter what happens right now — is gonna seem very late on the federal response, this happened on the third of February.” pic.twitter.com/Arcy6O8b5C
— Conservative War Machine (@WarMachineRR) February 23, 2023
Meanwhile, the head of Norfolk Southern Corp. said his railroad was prepared to make changes after the derailment in East Palestine.
“It is clear that our safety culture and our investments in safety didn’t prevent this accident. We’re going to see how we could have prevented it when we get the NTSB results,” Norfolk Southern Chief Executive Officer Alan Shaw said Wednesday. “We’re going to look for other opportunities as well, beyond what is in the NTSB results.”
Sahw has visited the town three times. On Tuesday, he met with local school officials and planned to be there again Thursday.
“My job is to push out the noise and focus on the citizens of East Palestine, focus on the environmental remediation, focus on investing in this community,” Shaw said, adding that Norfolk Southern would stay for as long as it takes to clean up the environment.
Angry residents are worried about drinking water, soil contamination and damage to their rural community. Politicians and government officials are also pointing fingers. The EPA has ordered the company to handle and pay for the cleanup effort.
The cause of the derailment is still under investigation. Officials have said an axle on a rail car overheated, causing dozens of cars to derail and some of them to catch fire. Surveillance video shows sparks under the train miles before the accident. Three days after the accident the railroad burned vinyl chloride from five tanker cars to prevent an explosion.
Norfolk Southern said it has distributed $6.5 million in financial assistance to the community so far.
Norfolk Southern has insurance that covers both injury and property damage to third parties and separate insurance on damage to its own property, the railroad’s finance chief, Mark George, said at an investor event Wednesday. The company expects insurance to cover some of the losses in connection to the derailment and cleanup, adding that the company would pay $75 million before its coverage kicks in.
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