The East Palestine trail derailment was a crushing disaster for East Palestine, Ohio.
Biden had vowed to visit the town after the accident, but he seemingly never got around to it, until now… an election year.
- East Palestine trail derailment
- Biden vows, then visits in election year
Trail derailments happen almost every day in this country, but you only hear about them when there are casualties or, in this case, a massive spill. On February 3, 51 trail cars derailed, with 11 of them carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine. A one-mile radius around the derailment was evacuated while crews did a controlled burn to try to get the spill under control.
Videos and photographs from the area were horrific, and the aftermath was not much better. As of October 2023, more than 167,000 tons of contaminated soil have been removed from the area. On October 26, 2023, the EPA announced that cleanup work had been completed.
After the accident happened, everyone wanted to know where the Biden administration was, with a lax EPA response and a Transportation Secretary that was nowhere to be found. Biden only added to that mess when in late February, he announced that he had no plans on visiting the area anytime soon. As political pressure increased, Biden finally came out in March to say that he would visit East Palestine "at some point." Nearly a year later, that visit has still not taken place.
Miraculously, now that we are in an election cycle, Joe Biden has finally decided to visit East Palestine to check on the town and how it is doing after the spill. There has still not been a firm date for the visit, but the White House has confirmed that Biden will be visiting the town soon.
The news that Biden would finally visit the town was not exactly joyous. When East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway was asked when a good time for Biden to visit would be, he responded:
"My personal opinion the best time for him to come would be February of 2025 when he is on his book tour."
Conaway later added:
"The President is always welcome to our town. That being said, I don't know what he would do here now."
Joe Biden would not be headed to East Palestine if this were not an election year. Actually, in all honesty, at this point, I think the visit is a mistake. Most people in this county have probably forgotten about this debacle, and Biden visiting the town is only to dredge up the memories of how badly this disaster was mishandled by this administration and, specifically, Joe Biden.
The matter was only made worse by Biden continuously going on vacations while proclaiming that his schedule was too busy to visit the town. Donald Trump poured more gasoline on the issue by visiting East Palestine on February 22, 2023, just a few weeks after the accident took place, telling the residents:
"You are not forgotten. We stand with you. We pray for you. And we will stand with you and your fight to help ensure the accountability that you deserve.
"The community has shown the tough and resilient heart of America. And that's what it is. This is really America right here. We're standing in America."
Even though the EPA has now considered the town scrubbed, there are still residents experiencing health issues, and some have yet to return to the area out of fear of getting sick from the remains of the accident. This will not be a pleasant visit for Biden, as you better believe people in this town are going to rake him over the coals for putting them on the back burner for such a long period of time.