Democratic Rep. John Garamendi of California said Monday that former President Donald Trump was to blame for a train derailment that resulted in a spill of toxic chemicals, defending Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s response to the crisis in the process.
A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 3, prompting evacuations and shelter-in-place orders as authorities moved to address the release of the chemicals. Officials warned of a possible “catastrophic blast” Feb. 6, and carried out a controlled burn of chemicals, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
“The fact of the matter is that the problem here lies with the Congress of the United States and the Republicans back in the Trump administration that stopped the safety rules that were supposed to go into place for the railroad systems across this country,” Garamendi told Fox News host Bill Hemmer. “Now, we need to go forward. Buttigieg needs to get in gear and he needs to move forward with the safety regulations. Yes, it would be nice for him to go there, but what would that solve?”
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Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has come under fire for his handling of the derailment, including for not discussing the derailment in public until posting a thread on Twitter on Feb. 13. That same day, Buttigieg expressed concern about the demographics of construction workers.
“Yesterday, Pete Buttigieg had the opportunity to address this problem. He instead talked about the excessive amount of – this is not a joke – too many white men in the construction industry,” Republican Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio said during a Tuesday Fox News appearance. “That is not a serious concern for this country right now. What is going on in East Palestine is. The Secretary of Transportation needs to focus on real problems, not fake problems.”
Former President Donald Trump announced Friday that he plans to visit East Palestine Wednesday.
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