Former President Donald Trump visited East Palestine, Ohio, providing residents with food and water, while President Joe Biden has yet to go.
East Palestine is the site of a train derailment that led to the release of toxic chemicals, altering the air and water quality of the town. Consequently, a controlled burn of vinyl chloride occurred, creating phosphene gas, a chemical used in WWI. Exposure to vinyl chloride is associated with a risk of liver cancer.
Trump appeared with Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway, pledging to the residents that they will not be forgotten.
Vance thanked Trump and local officials for their visit, saying, “We can’t forget about the people of East Palestine.”
Was great to have the president in East Palestine today. We need to keep working to get the residents the help they need. Kudos to the mayor, the fire chief, and other local officials for performing well under impossible conditions. https://t.co/b9vpBUC9b9
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) February 22, 2023
Cory Brittian, an East Palestine resident, also praised Trump for his visit.
“Any light that can be shined on the situation here, especially with the federal government, can only help,” he said.
Recently, Biden visited Ukraine, saying that the U.S. will provide them with nearly $500 million in additional security assistance.
In response, Trump said he hoped Biden would have “some money left over” for the residents of East Palestine.
The Associated Press reported that before departing, Trump went to a local McDonald’s where he gave away hats, ordered food for first responders, and got food for his flight home. He also visited Little Beaver Creek to inspect the damage and greet supporters nearby.
The former president also donated cleaning supplies with pallets of Trump-branded bottled water to residents who were concerned that the water quality of their town was toxic.
According to the AP, a woman told Trump: “Thank you for not forgetting about us.”
“Have fun, everybody,” Trump told them after signing autographs.
While Trump visited the town, Biden was visiting Poland, affirming the U.S.’s support for Ukraine as they undergo a war against Russia.
As the president departed Poland, he stumbled on the steps of Air Force One.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited East Palestine a day after Trump’s visit, meeting with local leaders and emergency responders.
It took him over 20 days since the incident to visit the town. He previously downplayed the disaster, saying that there are “roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailing.”
Furthermore, when Trump announced he would visit the town, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offered its support to Ohio.
Before his announcement, FEMA stated that Ohio was “ineligible” to receive its support.
Trump’s visit to East Palestine was a display of leadership. The former president showed a higher regard for his country than the current administration.