Former Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio chided President Joe Biden Monday for not going to East Palestine, where a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed.
“You know, showing up is 90%. I think being there, I think the fact that Secretary Buttigieg was there the other day, was a good sign,” Ryan told former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, now a MSNBC host. “I would encourage the president to be there and not forget.” (RELATED: Fox Panelist Wonders How Many Times Pete Buttigieg ‘Gets To Screw Up’ Before Biden Shows Him The Door)
A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 3, prompting evacuations and shelter-in-place orders as authorities moved to address the release of the chemicals. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg did not visit East Palestine until Thursday, a day after former President Donald Trump delivered water and other supplies to the town.
“I think having a strong presence, not going away, being there, consistently informing the community there about what’s going on, but making sure that they know that the federal government is on their side, not just politicians showing up, but the actual bureaucrats and the people who are doing the work, making sure that they have a presence there,” Ryan, who lost to Republican J.D. Vance in November’s election to fill the Senate seat vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman, said.
Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has come under fire for his handling of the derailment, including for not discussing the derailment in public until posting a thread on Twitter on Feb. 13, ten days after the incident. That same day, Buttigieg expressed concern about the demographics of construction workers.
The derailment caused multiple businesses to shut down, including the local McDonald’s, which was shuttered for six days after the accident. While some businesses, including the McDonalds, where former President Trump treated first responders to meals Wednesday, have re-opened, others, like a pet grooming business and a local shop, remain closed.
Other residents expressed concern about property values in the wake of the disaster, and a class-action lawsuit against train company Norfolk Southern was filed Thursday.
“I don’t live far from there. You know, and we’re concerned about drinking water up here, you know, 30 miles away. So this is — just presence, be there. Show them you care. People don’t care what you know, they want to know you care,” Ryan said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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