‘Hasn’t Said A Word’: Republicans Slam Pete Buttigieg For Silence After Ohio Train Derailment
Republican lawmakers criticized Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for his response to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which marks the most recent of several high-profile infrastructure disasters during his two-year tenure.
The derailment, which occurred on February 3, caused a fire that lasted several days. Officials decided to evacuate all residents within one mile of the crash and initiated a controlled burn of the chemicals to mitigate the risk of an explosion; five train cars of vinyl chloride, a carcinogen that can contaminate water supplies, was released into the atmosphere in the form of massive plumes of dark smoke that were visible in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Buttigieg appeared at the National Association of Counties Conference on Monday to discuss matters such as racial equity in the construction sector. He soon faced pressure from several Republican officials who said Buttigieg has failed to address the crisis.
“Pete Buttigieg has finally emerged today. Not a single comment about the train crash in Ohio,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) said on social media. “Instead, he bemoaned the whiteness of the construction industry. It’s a miracle that this country is able to function at all under this regime.”
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) said the official should be questioned by lawmakers, while Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) likewise claimed that Buttigieg “hasn’t said a word” on the ecological disaster more than nine days after the crash occurred. Norfolk Southern, the company responsible for the derailment, provided the EPA with a list of cars affected by the incident and the substances they were carrying; beyond vinyl chloride, toxic industrial chemicals such as ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and ethylhexyl acrylate were spilled at the site.