Biden claims he’s been TOO busy to visit East Palestine in Ohio after toxic train crash 212 days ago left town with polluted air and contaminated water – and admits he STILL has no plans to visit Republican state
- Biden said he’s been ‘too busy’ to visit the East Palestine, Ohio train disaster, even with Sunday marking seven months since the catastrophe
- ‘I haven’t had the occasion to go to East Palestine. There’s a lot going on here, and I just haven’t been able to break,’ Biden said at a press conference
- He tried to suggest that it was on his mind ‘this week’ before saying global travel plans got in the way
President Joe Biden said that he’s been too busy to visit East Palestine after the Ohio train disaster as criticism mounts over president’s ability to handle moments of crisis.
On Saturday, as he prepared to leave for his family compound in Delaware from the Idalia-ravaged Florida, he was again asked why he hasn’t visited, 166 days since promising to do so.
‘I haven’t had the occasion to go to East Palestine. There’s a lot going on here, and I just haven’t been able to break,’ Biden said at a press conference.
He then tried to suggest it has been on the 80-year-old’s mind of late but he’s just been unable to make time and get past global travel arrangements.
‘I was thinking whether I’d go to East Palestine this week, but I was reminded I’ve got to go literally around the world,’ the president continued. ‘I’m going from Washington to India to Vietnam.’
He then admitted there were no concrete plans to visit the town in GOP-run Ohio anytime soon.
‘It’s going to be a while, but we’re making sure that East Palestine has what they need materially in order to deal with their problems,’ Biden added.
Republican Senator JD Vance, who represents the state, sarcastically responded to a video of Biden’s remarks.
‘Like ski trips and beach vacations? Yeah you’ve been so busy,’ he joked. In June, it was reported that Biden, the oldest president in American history, is on pace to take more vacations than any other commander-in-chief.
In fact, Biden has spent 382 days of his presidency’s 957 days – or 40% – on personal overnight trips away from the White House, according to a report by the New York Post.
This outstrips George H.W. Bush, who spent 36% of his presidency off duty, and Trump who spent 26% of his term on personal trips out of Washington.
Vance spoke just days ago, slamming the president for not having any scheduled visit to the town yet.
‘Joe Biden promised he would visit East Palestine. He has failed to keep that promise,’ Vance said. ‘Not only has Joe Biden refused to visit East Palestine, but he has also refused to grant critical assistance to the recovery effort.’
Notoriously, Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, had a visit to the town just 19 days after the derailment, where he called the victims of a ‘betrayal’ by President Biden.
Biden did not visit Maui for over two weeks after the devastating wildfires that have destroyed portions of the island and killed at least 115 people.
On February 3, a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed and released large amounts of toxic chemicals into the air, water and ground, forcing evacuations as residents feared for their health. Some complained of headaches and other symptoms.
On February 16, Michael S. Regan, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, traveled to the derailment site to thank first responders for their work and assure that the EPA would have ‘boots on the ground’ throughout the cleanup process.
Dozens of fish were killed, half of the East Palestine’s 5,000 residents were evacuated and some have never returned for fear the drinking water is contaminated.
Norfolk Southern said in April the freight train derailment that released millions of gallons of toxic chemicals in the small Ohio town could cost the company nearly $400 million in legal fees and cleanup costs.
Several residents said that urinalysis tests revealed at least trace amounts of vinyl chloride in their systems, raising fears about potential long-term health problems including a heightened risk of cancer.
The railroad says testing shows public drinking water is safe, though it’s establishing a fund for long-term drinking water protection.
It’s also establishing funds for healthcare and to help sellers if their property value falls because of the accident.
The state of Ohio sued the railroad operator in March, seeking compensation for damages to the state’s environment, economy and residents. The Justice Department has also filed a federal suit.