Breaking: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Gets Blasted For Claiming His Time As A Mayor In South Bend Helped Him Get Prepared For Ohio Train Derailment

Credit: The Nation

Twitter users went after U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for saying that his experience as the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana prepared him for dealing with the train derailment disaster in East Palestine, Ohio.

Critics mocked Buttigieg, claiming that fixing things like neighborhood “potholes” in South Bend is not the same as dealing with a massive train derailment, that resulted in an ecological disaster.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) urged Buttigieg to resign in the wake of the comments.

Fox News reported:

Buttigieg, who has been heavily criticized for not having done enough in responding to the disastrous train derailment in East Palestine, assured residents during an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he would be showing up in the town at some point. 

During the Tuesday interview, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos mentioned criticism of Buttigieg and the Biden administration’s handling of the accident. He stated, “The administration’s come under some fire for its response. The mayor of East Palestine has said it took nearly two weeks for the White House to contact him. There were shouts of ‘Where’s Pete Buttigieg?’ at a town hall meeting last week.”

Stephanopoulos asked, “What’s your response to that? When are you going to go to East Palestine?”

The Transportation Secretary flatly admitted, “Well I am planning to go, and uh, our folks were on the ground from the first hours. I do want to stress that the NTSB needs to be able to do its work independently. But when I go, the focus is going to be on action.”

Buttigieg added, “Look, I was mayor of my hometown for eight years. We dealt with a lot of disasters, natural and human.”

Buttigieg acknowledged that he should have spoken out sooner n the Norfolk Southern derailment. 

He said, “I was focused on just making sure that our folks on the ground were all set, but could have spoken sooner about how strongly I felt about this incident, and that’s a lesson learned for me,” Buttigieg told CBS News political correspondent Caitlin Huey-Burns Tuesday.

Buttigieg also tried to blame Trump for the incident.

He said they were constrained by a Trump administration action.

“We’re constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 because of a law passed by Congress in 2015), but we are using the powers we do have to keep people safe,” the transportation secretary added. “And of course, I’m always ready to work with Congress on furthering (or in some cases, restoring) our capacity to address rail safety issues.”

The EPA, Norfolk Southern, and Ohio officials have conducted air monitoring and have said that the air is safe for residents.

Locals are not so assured. The water is still showing signs of contamination and people’s animals are dying in surrounding areas.

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