Karine Jean-Pierre Declines to Say if Biden Visiting East Palestine Has Been 'Under Consideration'


White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is not sharing if there have even been discussions about President Joe Biden visiting East Palestine, Ohio, after a train derailed there.

During a press briefing on Thursday, NBC’s Peter Alexander asked if it is “in discussion that the president may go [to East Palestine] in the near future.”

“I just don’t have anything to share,” she responded.

Alexander then asked, “For folks there, though, at least to say it’s in discussion, has it been something that’s even under consideration?”

“Folks should, I think, feel at ease … the president has taken this very seriously,” Jean-Pierre said.

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A separate reporter noted Biden “frequently visits the sites of many natural and man-made disasters.”

“This situation in East Palestine has clearly required a multi-agency response from the federal and the state level. So I guess I’m just struggling to understand why the president wouldn’t go to East Palestine,” he continued. “Does it simply not meet the bar for a presidential visit?”

Do you think it has been under consideration?

The press secretary suggested there is “no reason to struggle” regarding that question.

She touted the response from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

When the reporter suggested a presidential visit is different, Jean-Pierre said, “No … It does matter that the president put forth a multi-agency kind of reaction to this.”

“Showing up is having the Environmental Protection administrator on the ground. Showing up is having the DOT secretary on the ground to talk about what is the next process,” she added.

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The president cannot personally visit every disaster scene. There is not enough time in the year, and not every train derailment deserves a presidential visit.

And the East Palestine train derailment did not become a mass casualty event. It has been reported thousands of fish died following the derailment. However, there have not been reports of residents dying from the incident. Officials also believe the air and water in the area are safe.

Still, this has become a major news story with questions about how safe the town is. And Biden’s apparent reluctance to visit comes off as a little odd.

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