In the small town of East Palestine, a year has passed since a catastrophic train derailment unleashed a toxic nightmare upon its residents. The incident, which occurred on February 3, 2023, involved a Norfolk Southern train going off the rails and releasing a massive cloud of vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen. This led to an intentional burn-off, causing an enormous explosion and a lingering toxic plume that has since cast a shadow over the community.
The town’s Mayor, Trent Conaway, has been vocal in his criticism of President Joe Biden’s response to the disaster. He has openly rejected the idea of a presidential visit now, almost a year after the event, suggesting that such a visit would be nothing more than a public relations stunt. Instead, Mayor Conaway has proposed that President Biden should consider visiting in February 2025, sarcastically noting that it would coincide with a potential book tour.
Badass East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway SAVAGES Joe Biden, REFUSES Biden’s PR visit to East Palestine ONE YEAR after toxic explosion:
“The best time for Biden to visit would be February 2025 when he's on his book tour.” 🤣🔥
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) January 31, 2024
Mayor Conaway’s frustration is not without merit. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, former President Donald Trump visited the town, providing water, goods, and food to the residents. This gesture was met with widespread approval from the community. Meanwhile, President Biden was abroad, offering military aid to Ukraine, and his administration’s later attempts to address the crisis, including a visit by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, were seen as too little, too late.
The White House has announced plans for President Biden to visit East Palestine in February, but the mayor has questioned the timing of this decision. When pressed about whether the President would demonstrate the safety of the local water by drinking it during his visit, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to engage in specifics, emphasizing that the President’s focus has been on supporting the community from day one.
HEAR IT – THINGS ARE REALLY BAD: East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway says he did not need to invite Donald Trump to come visit after the disaster, but he had to put out a personal invitation for Joe Biden to visit after a year. WATCH pic.twitter.com/ronIkxIspM
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) February 1, 2024
The contrast between the swift action taken by Trump and the perceived inaction by the current administration has not gone unnoticed by the residents of East Palestine. They have endured a year of uncertainty and fear, with concerns about long-term health effects and environmental damage still looming large.
Mayor Conaway’s pointed remarks reflect a broader sentiment of disappointment and abandonment felt by many in East Palestine. His suggestion that President Biden’s visit would be more appropriate during a book tour is a stinging indictment of what he sees as a failure to prioritize the well-being of his community when it mattered most.
As the town continues to grapple with the consequences of the derailment, the need for leadership and tangible support remains critical. The people of East Palestine deserve more than just symbolic gestures; they need a commitment to recovery and a promise that such a disaster will never be allowed to happen again.
In the end, the measure of a leader is often found in their response to crisis. For the residents of East Palestine, the actions—or inactions—of their President will not soon be forgotten. As they rebuild and look toward the future, they carry with them the memory of a year marked by struggle and the hope that their voices will finally be heard.