Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg admitted in an interview this week that his department made errors in its response to the devastating train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
During an interview with Nexstar TV, Buttigieg “acknowledged the DOT could have established more efficient communication with the leaders and residents of East Palestine, a tiny village in southeastern Ohio,” Newsmax reports.
“To be clear, our department was on the ground within hours helping with the response and the investigation,” Buttigieg said.
“Again, I respect the separate role of the NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board], but we have been on the ground literally from day one to make sure that we’re doing our part to support.”
Buttigieg then asserted that he “could have spoken out sooner, and I’m making sure that we are focused on the actions that are gonna make a difference.”
During another interview on “Good Morning America” Tuesday, Buttigieg spoke about a potential visit to East Palestine.
“I am planning to go, and our folks were on the ground from the first hours,” the Transportation Secretary said.
“I do wanna stress that the NTSB needs to be able to do its work independently, but when I go, the focus is gonna be on action.”
Evidently taking a shot at Donald Trump – who is visiting the town this week – Buttigieg suggested his visit would not be used for photo ops.
“When I go, it will be about action on rail safety, like the actions that we are calling on Congress to help us with,” said Buttigieg.
“That we’re calling on the industry to take and that we are undertaking ourselves as a department to help make sure that these kinds of things don’t happen in the future.”
While neither Biden nor Buttigieg has visited East Palestine thus far, Donald Trump and his team are headed that way.
Donald Trump Jr. posted a video aboard “Trump Force One” discussing the visit and the clear contrast between his father and D.C. politicians such as Joe Biden.
Don Trump Jr:
“Since Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, the Democrat Party, and most of DC refuses to do their actual job somebody has to step up and fill that void. We’re going to East Palestine, Ohio. We’re going to meet with the people there.” pic.twitter.com/cdbjG8nYAv
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) February 22, 2023