Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Finally Decides to Transport Himself to East Palestine

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Two weeks after the train derailment and resulting environmental catastrophe in East Palestine, Ohio, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced he will finally visit the site.


The move comes after days of rage and ridicule aimed at the former Indiana mayor and his boss in the White House. In the midst of the crisis Buttigieg remained in Washington, D.C., to host discussions about discrimination in construction work. President Biden still has not been to the scene of the worst ecological disaster in a decade, instead choosing to head to Ukraine. East Palestine Mayor Trent Conway called Biden’s Ukraine trip “a slap in the face.”

The Biden White House didn’t even bother sending Dr. Jill Biden in his stead. She’s heading to Africa on a diplomatic trip this month.

On Tuesday, Buttigieg had a very awkward encounter with a Daily Caller reporter, who approached him on the street to inquire about his seeming lack of concern for East Palestine. The secretary’s response was to photograph her recording him. He still declined to explain his absence from the one thing happening in America right now where his presence could actually be useful.


After all that, Secretary Buttigieg has finally relented. His office released a statement on Wednesday saying he will head to the disaster site on Thursday.

From the office of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation

Buttigieg recently made an attempt to slap down Florida Senator Marco Rubio, after Rubio criticized his non-action in the Ohio disaster. Rubio clapped back with a vengeance.

@secretaryPete: The facts don’t lie. The 2021 letter you signed was obviously drafted by railroad industry lobbyists. It supports waivers that would reduce visual track inspections. Now: will you vote to help us toughen rail safety accountability and fines or not?

@marcorubio: Before you emerged from hiding 10 days after the worst rail accident in over a decade the last time we heard you talking about rail was when you were lobbying for the rail company “deal” that screwed workers out of paid leave while I was fighting for workers. Please resign now.


Even if there isn’t much Buttigieg can do to help clean up the disaster area, his very presence would signal to the citizens of East Palestine that their elected officials care about what’s happening. He would be going as a surrogate for Biden, a diplomatic tradition that is part of the reason we even have all these offices. The President can’t be everywhere at once, and cannot oversee every aspect of keeping America connected. Buttigieg has said he didn’t want to be in the way of the EPA and NTSB, but a symbolic meeting with East Palestine leaders could have done a lot to soothe the fears and concerns of the residents there.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos