El Dorado News-Times

Mayor Pete missed the train to Ohio


Train wreck. That’s a perfect way to describe the dismal record of the Biden administra­tion.

We’ve already seen a series of major disasters at home and abroad.

And now we have a literal train wreck in eastern Ohio that is, yet again, exposing how incompeten­t, laughably dumb and outof-touch the president and his gang in Washington are.

The derailment of the Norfolk Southern freight train in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 3 started out as a small news item from a Trump corner of Flyover Country.

But it quickly became a major story when it was learned that some of the 38 derailed cars were carrying unpronounc­eable and unspellabl­e hazardous materials, including tank cars full of cancer-causing vinyl chloride and ethylhexyl acrylate.

Three days later, to avoid a major explosion from the leaking cars, the authoritie­s in charge and the railroad execs made the fateful – and, as we now know, foolish – decision to do a controlled burn of the dangerous chemicals.

The evil mushroom cloud of thick black smoke that formed over the town of 5,000 souls looked like something out of a disaster movie.

But it was real.

As the cloud drifted eastward, it poisoned the air, water and land with a shower of dangerous chemicals that has killed fish and pet chickens, poisoned water wells and scared the heck out of people living downwind in Ohio and western Pennsylvan­ia.

In the last two weeks, what happened in East Palestine has exploded into a major environmen­tal catastroph­e that could have long-term health effects on the health of thousands for decades.

But as of Thursday, the president and his bumbling Secretary of Transporta­tion, Pete Buttigieg, have virtually ignored the derailment and the ongoing environmen­tal calamity.

The president went on TV Thursday afternoon to read a statement to reporters about why we’ve been using jets and $400,000 rockets to shoot down Chinese spy balloons, private weather balloons and other unidentifi­ed flying things – and then walked off without answering any questions about anything.

Meanwhile, Mayor Pete, who earlier this week was talking about diversity, inclusion and equity and complainin­g that constructi­on workers were too white, also has been AWOL on the derailment disaster.

He’s managed only a tweet expressing how he continues “to be concerned” about the impact that the derailment has had on families whose “lives were upended through no fault of their own.”

Reports that Mayor Pete was seen on a bicycle going door-to-door in East Palestine in a hazmat suit to express his deep concern turned out to be fake news.

But that’s exactly what Buttigieg should have been doing the last 10 days.

Instead of hiding wherever it is he’s hiding and blaming the train derailment on a regulatory rule changed by the Trump administra­tion, he should have gone to East Palestine long ago.

Both he and President Biden, who apparently still hasn’t been told about the derailment, should have gone to Ohio together to comfort the local people and promise that the federal government would help with anything they need.

That’s the job the president is supposed to do when there’s a major disaster like this – go to the scene, wrap their arms around the people there, embrace them and comfort them.

President Biden has done none of that. He didn’t even order Buttigieg to take Air Force Two to Ohio.

As for Mayor Pete, instead of having someone on his staff whip up a token tweet of concern, he should have stayed overnight with a local family in East Palestine and been videotaped chugging their tap water – and not in a hazmat suit.

Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, is an author, speaker and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation. Send comments to reagan@caglecarto­ons.com and follow @reaganworl­d on Twitter.

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