On Friday, Joe Biden said he was not planning on visiting East Palestine, Ohio, the American town where residents are dealing with the aftermath of the February 3 Norfolk Southern 38-car train derailment that released toxic chemicals into the community.
A reporter asked "Are you planning to travel to East Palestine, Ohio?" Biden answered, "At this moment, not. I was, I—I did a whole video, I mean, um, you know, the—what the hell, on…" The reporter said, "Zoom?" And the president replied, "Zoom."
"All I can think, every time I think, of Zoom is that song of my generation, 'Who's Zoomin' Who?' But wait, wait, let me answer the question," Biden said. "The answer is that, uh, I had a long meeting with my team and what they're doing."
On Thursday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg arrived in town, weeks after the incident occurred. The Post Millennial contributor Savanah Hernandez pressed Buttigieg on why it took so long for him to visit. His press secretary, Kerry Arndt, intercepted Hernandez and said she would answer if Hernandez put away her camera. Arndt said Hernandez was being "aggressive" in her questions.
Buttigieg arrived after former President Donald Trump visited East Palestine earlier in the week. During his visit, Trump passed out thousands of water bottles to the community and bought lunch for first responders at a local McDonalds.
The Biden administration refused requests from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for emergency assistance funds via the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
On February 6, authorities began burning off chemicals from the derailment to reduce the risk of a vinyl chloride explosion. The Post Millennial reported that after the initial evacuation, residents returned home on February 9 and found a chemical odor remaining in the air. They also found dead fish in rivers and creeks.
EPA administrator Michael S. Regan was asked if he would let his children drink the water, which authorities claimed was safe again but residents worried was contaminated. Regan said, "Yes, as a father, I trust the science."
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