‘It All Happened So Quickly’: DCNF Reporter Recounts Confrontation With Buttigieg Over Ohio Train Disaster

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A Daily Caller News Foundation reporter recounted her Feb. 21 encounter with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg when he refused to answer questions about the government’s response to a Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, during a Tuesday appearance on The Rising.

“It all happened so quickly,” DCNF investigative reporter Jennie Taer told co-host Briahna Joy Gray about the photo Buttigieg took of her. “He did walk away, I walked away as well. It wasn’t something I expected. Some people are saying I was lurking, waiting for him to come around.” (RELATED: Pete Buttigieg Taking Photo Of DCNF Reporter Sparks Backlash)


Taer encountered Buttigieg, asking if he had any message for the people of East Palestine, Ohio, where a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed Feb. 3, prompting evacuations and shelter-in-place orders as authorities moved to address the release of the chemicals. Buttigieg referred Taer to previous press statements, before taking a photo of her.

“I’m a reporter, so I spring into action at any moment,” Taer added, saying she spotted Buttigieg’s security detail while waiting for a yoga class to start.

Buttigieg came 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 while on a panel during a conference held by the National Association of Counties.

Buttigieg, a former presidential candidate visited East Palestine on Feb. 23, one day after former President Donald Trump delivered water and other supplies to the town. Buttigieg also received criticism for taking parental leave during a 2021 supply chain crisis.

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 remain closed.

When asked by co-host Robby Soave why her encounter with Buttigieg seemed to resonate, Taer pointed to his presidential ambitions.

“A lot of people, especially our conservative audience, had their eyes on him for that reason and he’s received a lot of pushback,” Taer said. “You know, he would be pushed back for taking time off when his son was born, he, you know, got pushback for the air travel issue, a number of other things, the supply chain.”

Taer said the nature of her confrontation with Buttigieg also drove the story.

“For a reporter to get him in an environment, where he might not be at a press conference, or in some, you know, comfort zone, for him, I think that’s what really drove people to the story,” Taer said, noting that the video of her encounter got over four million views on Twitter.

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