Trump Will Visit Ohio Town Impacted By Train Crash On Wednesday. Here’s What To Expect.

Former President Donald Trump is slated to visit East Palestine, Ohio, on Wednesday as the small rust belt town is grappled by a train derailment and subsequent chemical fallout.

Local and state authorities previously evacuated all residents within one mile of the February 3 derailment and started a controlled burn of industrial chemicals on the vehicle to decrease the risk of an explosion, which could have sent shrapnel throughout the small town. Vinyl chloride, a known human carcinogen used to manufacture PVC, was emitted from five train cars in the form of massive plumes of dark smoke, prompting concerns about air and water quality for the millions of people who live in the Ohio River Basin.

As Trump continues his third bid for the White House, he is expected to draw attention to President Joe Biden’s relative silence on the disaster and the minimal attention publicly paid to the crisis by senior administration officials. The highest-ranking Biden staffer to visit East Palestine has so far been EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who canceled a climate change mission to Africa he was scheduled to lead alongside celebrity couple Idris and Sabrina Elba as his agency addresses the fallout, which has produced worrisome health concerns for humans and livestock.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the former Democratic presidential contender whose tenure at the agency has been marked by a number of infrastructure issues, has yet to visit the small town and did not publicly address the crisis for more than a week after it occurred. He nevertheless appeared at the National Association of Counties Conference to comment on matters such as racial equity in the construction sector. On Monday, Buttigieg said he would visit East Palestine “when the time is right.”

Biden himself made an appearance in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Monday as his administration supplies the war-torn nation with more than $113 billion amid the invasion from Russia. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA, meanwhile granted a request for aid to East Palestine only after Trump revealed his plans to visit the small town of 4,700 residents, a note that the former commander-in-chief sounded on social media.

“Biden and FEMA said they would not be sending federal aid to East Palestine. As soon as I announced that I’m going, he announced a team will go. Hopefully he will also be there. This is good news because we got them to ‘move.’ The people of East Palestine need help,” Trump said. “I’ll see you on Wednesday!”

Trent Conaway, the mayor of East Palestine, likewise called Biden’s Ukraine visit a “slap in the face” during an interview with Fox News. “He doesn’t care about us,” the official added.

Trump won his first bid for the White House in 2016 by emphasizing issues such as quelling illegal immigration, incentivizing the creation of manufacturing jobs, and “draining the swamp” of entrenched bureaucratic power in Washington. The celebrity businessman and real estate investor clinched Ohio by eight-point margins in both 2016 and 2020 after former President Barack Obama decisively won the swing state for the Democrats in each of his elections.

Other potential Republican presidential nominees have similarly criticized Biden for neglecting East Palestine while visiting Ukraine. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in an appearance on Fox News that “we have a lot of problems accumulating here in our own country that he is neglecting” and characterized the administration’s approach to the Ukraine invasion as a “blank-check policy.”

Beyond the criticism of Biden, who is expected to run for re-election but has not officially declared his candidacy, Trump will donate several pallets of water and thousands of gallons of cleaning supplies while in East Palestine, according to a report from Fox News. He will also meet with members of the community and local officials.

“President Trump is meeting with the citizens of East Palestine and will never forget them and what they are going through,” a Trump advisor told the outlet. “Contrast that with Biden and the federal government who has failed them from the beginning.”

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