Buttigieg FINALLY visits East Palestine, press sec complains journalists asking question are 'aggressive' 

Buttigieg ignored the questions from reporters, while press secretary Kerry Arndt said she would answer the questions, but not on camera, calling the presence of cameras "a little bit aggressive."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Thursday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited East Palestine, Ohio, one day shy of three weeks since a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals derailed.

According to CBS News, Buttigieg arrived in the eastern Ohio town just before 8 am.

"This morning I’m in East Palestine, Ohio, to see the site of the Norfolk Southern derailment, hear updates from investigators, and meet first responders. USDOT will continue its work to ensure safety and accountability," Buttigieg wrote in a Thursday morning tweet.

Turning Point USA contributor Savanah Hernandez attempted to confront Buttigieg about the timing of his trip to East Palestine, whose announcement of his trip and arrival in the town came after former President and 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump announced he would be visiting, and visited the town.

Frontlines reporter Kalen D’Almeida noted the American public’s lack of confidence in Buttigieg’s ability to his job, and asked if he would be resigned.

"I’m not here for politics," Buttigieg responded. "I’m here to make sure the community can get what they need."

D’Almeida asked if Buttigieg would apologize for the Biden administration’s slow response, to which Buttigieg ignored the question.

In a Wednesday tweet, Buttigieg wrote, "Happy to discuss timing of our Ohio visit - but starting to think some in Washington want that to be the main focus so that there aren’t too many questions about rail safety regulation, who is for and who is against. We will hold the line on railroad safety and accountability."

According to CBS News, a Department of Transportation spokesperson said on Wednesday that Buttigieg would visit the town when "appropriate," and when a trip "wouldn’t detract from the emergency response efforts."

"The secretary is going now that the EPA has said it is moving out of the emergency response phase and transitioning to the long-term remediation phase," the spokesperson said. "His visit also coincides with the NTSB issuing its factual findings of the investigation into the cause of the derailment and will allow the secretary to hear from USDOT investigators who were on the ground within hours of the derailment to support the NTSB's investigation."

Speaking with reporters on Thursday afternoon, Buttigieg stated that "we’ve been here from the first hours of the incident as an administration."

In response to one reporter who asked whether Buttigieg had waited too long to send his first tweet regarding the incident, Buttigieg said, "the answer to your question is yes."

"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 have not stopped me from weighing in about how I felt about what was happening to this community."

"Was it a mistake not to come here sooner?" another reporter asked.

"Well, what I tried to do was balance two things: my desire to be involved and engaged in on the ground, which is how I’m generally wired to act, and my desire to follow the norm of transportation secretaries allowing the NTSB to really lead the initial stages of public-facing work," Buttigieg responded.


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