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February 22, 2023

Pothole Pete Keeps on Dodging

Nearly three weeks in, neither Joe Biden nor his worthless transportation secretary has bothered to visit the people of East Palestine.

It’s been 19 days since a freight train loaded with hazardous chemicals derailed and crashed in East Palestine, Ohio, and neither Joe Biden nor Transportation Secretary Pothole Pete “Let ‘em Drink Vinyl Chloride” Buttigieg has bothered to pay the town a visit.

As a certain former president is fond of saying, “It’s a disgrace.”

That former (and perhaps future) president, Donald Trump, is in East Palestine today, in fact, and his visit has already gotten results. Late last week, just hours after Trump announced his visit, Joe Biden’s Federal Emergency Management Agency reversed course and announced that the derailment does in fact qualify for federal disaster aid and that FEMA would dispatch a senior bureaucrat “along with a Regional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to support ongoing operations, including incident coordination and ongoing assessments of potential long-term recovery needs.”

“Biden and FEMA said they would not be sending federal aid to East Palestine,” said Trump. “As soon as I announced that I’m going, he announced a team will go. Hopefully he will also be there. This is good news because we got them to 'move.’ The people of East Palestine need help.”

In addition, as the AP dutifully reports, Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency yesterday ordered the rail carrier, Norfolk Southern, to pay for the cleanup of the train wreck and the chemical release, “as federal regulators took charge of long-term recovery efforts and promised worried residents they won’t be forgotten.”

Meanwhile, East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway lit into Biden for his propagandistic 4,873-mile trip to Ukraine Monday, rather than venturing 291 miles into flyover country to visit the scared and stricken Ohio village. A frustrated Conaway called Biden’s trip to Ukraine “the biggest slap in the face.”

As for Pothole Pete, he too seems to have been spurred into action by Trump’s visit. Nearly three weeks after the derailment, Buttigieg announced that he’ll be visiting East Palestine himself, though he couldn’t be nailed down to a specific day. He’s a busy man, of course, rooting out the systemic racism in all those lily-white construction crews and such.

On a Monday conference call with reporters, America’s would-be first gay president trotted out his most McKinseyesque gibberish about “accelerating and augmenting our ongoing lines of effort on rail regulation and inspection.” As if such forward-looking measures could help matters in East Palestine today.

Paternity Pete continued: “I am very interested in getting to know the residents of East Palestine, hearing from them about how they’ve been impacted and communicating with them about the steps that we’re taking. When the time is right, I do plan to visit East Palestine. I don’t have a date for you right now.”

Got that, all you Trumpers East Palestinians? He’ll get back to you.

Still, we suppose this is better than Buttigieg’s initial reaction, which was to pooh-pooh the catastrophe: “While this horrible situation has gotten a particularly high amount of attention,” he complained, “there are roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailing.”

And it was also better than his self-aggrandizing interview with ABC News host George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday. “Look,” he said, “I was mayor of my hometown for eight years. We dealt with a lot of disasters.”

No doubt he handled plenty of disasters there in South Bend, Indiana, population 100,000. Like the time, as The Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles notes, he “pulled strings to get a small and perfectly adequate section of road repaved in front of his house.”

After all, even a little pothole could put a nasty dent in a bike rim.

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