Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is under fire after a major train catastrophe.
He’s not answering serious questions that need to be answered.
A top Democrat is missing in action as a major disaster unfolds on his watch.
After a freight train operated by Norfolk Southern carrying hazardous materials derailed in Ohio officials decided to conduct a “controlled release” and burn-off of vinyl chloride inside five derailed tanker cars.
Vinyl chloride breaks down during combustion into phosgene, a highly dangerous substance used as a chemical weapon in World War I.
“We basically nuked a town with chemicals so we could get a railroad open,” said Sil Caggiano, a hazardous materials specialist.
Despite the magnitude of the problem, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg did not address the train crash for more than a week after it occurred.
Buttigieg has received bipartisan criticism for his lack of response.
“East Palestine railroad derailment will have a significant negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the residents for decades and there is almost zero national media attention. We need Congressional inquiry and direct action from @PeteButtigieg to address this tragedy.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted.
In a highly unusual moment of agreement Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded to Omar’s tweet, “Fully agree.”
Buttigieg responded defensively claiming that Congress was at fault for not passing rail safety legislation.
“Glad to see newfound bipartisan agreement here. We could start by discussing immediate steps Congress could take to address rail safety & reduce constraints on USDOT in this area. Give us a call, we can do some good work.” Buttigieg responded on Twitter.
Yet this response wasn’t enough to deflect the criticisms he’s received.
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), whose district includes East Palestine, invited Buttigieg to a town hall on Wednesday to address the concerns of citizens affected by the disaster.
Johnson told Buttigieg that he should attend the town hall. “I’ll save a seat for you,” he told Buttigieg on social media. “It’s past time you hear the concerns of residents affected by the train derailment.”
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) said that the disaster was a result of Biden’s misplaced priorities.
“We have had hundreds of train derailments after we spent over $1 trillion on infrastructure in this country, so the fact that this isn’t getting obviously better is a major indictment of the people spending the money and what they’re spending the money on,” Vance remarked during an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “Now we know, if you listen to Secretary Buttigieg today, that they are focused more on whether we have too many white men in construction jobs than he is on the fundamentals of his job, which is ensuring we have a viable transportation infrastructure in this country.”
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