Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg reportedly snapped a photo of a journalist from The Daily Caller News Foundation after refusing to answer her questions about the ongoing disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, because he was “taking some personal time.”
The Foundation’s Jennie Taer caught up to Buttigieg in Washington, D.C., and asked him a series of questions about the train derailment and subsequent chemical fires — primarily what he might have to say to local residents who have concerns about the safety and quality of the air and water in their homes.
“I asked Secretary Buttigieg about the crisis in East Palestine and I guess he didn’t like that so he took a pic of me. I’m just doing my job, sir,” Taer tweeted, sharing video of the brief encounter.
I asked Secretary Buttigieg about the crisis in East Palestine and I guess he didn’t like that so he took a pic of me. Im just doing my job, sir. @DailyCaller pic.twitter.com/HjKNgF25FJ
— Jennie Taer (@JennieSTaer) February 22, 2023
“Hi, how are you, Jennie Taer at The Daily Caller News Foundation,” she said as she approached the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor. “What do you have to say to the folks in Ohio — East Palestine — who are suffering right now?”
“Well, I’d refer you to about a dozen interviews I’ve given today,” Buttigieg replied, adding, “And if you’d like to arrange a conversation you should reach out to our press office but I’m not going to have that conversation with you just walking on the street.”
“You don’t have a message for them?” Taer pressed.
“I do, and I’ve shared it with the press many times today and I’d refer you to those comments,” he said.
“Would you mind sharing it with us?” she asked.
“No, I’m going to refer you to the comments that I made to the press because right now I’m taking some personal time and I’m walking down the street,” Buttigieg continued to stonewall her.
Taer persisted, asking the Transportation Secretary whether he planned to make a visit to East Palestine – and he said that he did intend to go, but then refused to give specifics when she asked when he might be making that trip.
“I’ll share that when I’m ready,” he said, and then stopped and turned to face her. “Can I get a photo of you?” he asked.
Joe Concha, Fox News commentator and Media and Politics columnist for The Hill, suggested that the mainstream press’ failure to address the situation was part of the problem.
“This is how elitists who are made uncomfortable act out. Amazing how few members of the press are commenting on this,” he said.
This is how elitists who are made uncomfortable act out. Amazing how few members of the press are commenting on this. https://t.co/0rROITxhFM
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) February 22, 2023