It’s been seven months since the East Palestine, Ohio, train wreck, and President Joe Biden still hasn’t visited the environmentally compromised village on the Pennsylvania border.
But the media have not completely moved their attention elsewhere — at least not all of them.
Biden was in Florida on Saturday viewing the damage from Hurricane Idalia when he was asked about it.
“You said in March that you would go to East Palestine, Ohio. You came here. How come you haven’t gone to East Palestine yet?” a reporter said.
“Well I haven’t had the occasion to go to East Palestine,” the president responded.
“There’s a lot going on here, and I just haven’t been able to break,” he said.
Over the past seven months, Biden easily could have helicoptered from the White House on Marine One, jetted on Air Force One and ridden in a motorcade from Youngstown to East Palestine. The entire trip could have been done in a few hours.
Despite a highly publicized crisis fairly close to Washington, Biden made no effort to be present. Even Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg waited nearly three weeks before going to the stricken area.
Could Trump’s taking of 71 percent of the 2020 vote in surrounding Columbiana County, Ohio, be a reason for the Biden administration’s indifference to East Palestine?
Also of significance is the fact that Joe Biden has spent about 40 percent of his days as president “on personal overnight trips away from the White House,” according to the New York Post, which called him the “slacker-in-chief.”
“The 24/7 grind of the White House has been anything but for President Biden, who has devoted more days to downtime than any of his recent predecessors, according to an analysis of press-pool reports,” it said.
The president seems to be feeling his age of 80, as he has indicated he is “tired.”
Biden told the reporter he thought he might go to East Palestine “this week” but “I then was reminded I’ve got to go literally around the world. I’m going from — from Washington to India to Vietnam to — and so, I — it’s going to be a while,” he said.
“But we’re making sure that East Palestine has what they need materially in order to deal with their problems,” Biden said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, might disagree – he’s repeatedly asked for a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for East Palestine, according to WKBN-TV in Youngstown.
But in July, the Federal Emergency Management Administration passed the buck to Norfolk Southern Railroad since the railroad was providing relief, the outlet reported at the time.
Thirty-eight cars of a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in East Palestine on Feb. 3 as a result of a burned wheel bearing.
Among the cars derailed were those containing vinyl chloride. They were vented to reduce pressure and created a dramatic mushroom cloud over the wreck scene, where fires continued for two days.
In addition to gases released into the atmosphere, materials from railroad tank cars leaked into soil and water in the area.
While residents noted physical effects such as skin irritation and coughing, test results of environmental damage have been mixed.
Nevertheless, the dramatic mushroom cloud and disruption of life in the village brought extensive media attention — along with recognition of Biden’s absence.
That absence cannot help but focus on his lax work schedule.
That, in turn, further buttresses the question of whether the octogenarian is physically and mentally capable of continuing in the job of president of the United States.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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