Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg finally addressed the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment — appearing to downplay the matter by pointing out the large number of train derailments in the U.S. and noting that the Ohio derailment has just gotten the most “attention.”
While Buttigieg avoided showing up for a town meeting in East Palestine on the derailment and the toxic material from the train that polluted the environment, he did show up for an interview with Yahoo! Finance Live.
Amid the backlash for initially being conveniently absent and silent during the disaster, Buttigieg finally addressed the incident on Monday night — ten days after the train derailed.
The transportation secretary was asked by Yahoo! Finance about his department’s response to the matter.
“Look, rail safety is something that has evolved a lot over the years, but there’s clearly more that needs to be done because while this horrible situation has gotten a particularly high amount of attention, there are roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailing,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg: "While this horrible situation has gotten a particularly high amount of attention, there are roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailing."
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) February 16, 2023
The transportation secretary’s attempt to downplay the incident mirrors the Biden administration’s attempts to dismiss criticism of their delayed response to the Chinese surveillance balloon by claiming — without evidence — that it also happened under the previous administration.
Buttigieg has faced heavy criticism for his lack of response to this disaster, even from his own party. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) — who serves as chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee — called him out at a recent hearing.
“This sector needs a more effective policeman on the beat. They need someone over at the Department of Transportation who is going to get the job done,” she said.
Buttigieg’s continued failures in office, including numerous crises and his repeated absences during these incidents, have prompted calls for his resignation or firing.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) demanded the transportation secretary be fired.
“Even after acknowledging the tragedy, he continues to deflect any accountability for the safety of our nation’s rail system. The circumstances leading up to the derailment point to a clear lack of oversight and demand engagement by our nation’s top transportation official,” Rubio wrote, later adding: “I do not have confidence that Secretary Buttigieg is capable of keeping the American people safe.”
🚨BREAKING: Tucker Carlson calls for immediate FIRING of Pete Buttigieg after abandoning Americans in Ohio fighting deadly poison spill:
“They didn’t care and they got CAUGHT.”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) February 16, 2023