Jean-Pierre tried and failed to shut down questions about lack of Biden visit to East Palestine train derailment site

 February 25, 2023

President Joe Biden and his administration have faced sharp criticism for their response to the Feb. 3 toxic train derailment near East Palestine, Ohio, and the subsequent serious health concerns of residents, particularly with regard to the fact that President Biden has yet to announce plans to visit the area.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attempted to shut down talk of a presidential visit to the derailment site, however, and instead insisted that Americans should "feel at ease" with the Biden administration's response thus far, National Review reported.

Jean-Pierre's remarks are unlikely to suffice in ending the legitimate complaints and public perception that Biden and his administration have treated the East Palestine toxic train derailment and resultant environmental disaster as an afterthought or minor side issue, however.

Americans should "feel at ease" with Biden's response

During Thursday's press briefing at the White House, Jean-Pierre was peppered with numerous questions about how the administration has handled the derailment incident and whether President Biden would eventually pay a visit to the devastated and worried community -- which she steadfastly refused to commit to.

She said the president was "satisfied" with the response thus far and repeatedly rattled off a series of talking points about what various federal agencies had done up to this point, and dismissively brushed off questions about some of the criticism that had been received.

At one point, asked if there were at least any "discussion" of a possible trip for Biden to East Palestine, Jean-Pierre replied, "I just don’t have anything to share. I know — I know there’s a lot of interest on that."

Pressed on the matter, she further stated, "I mean, I think what folks should understand and folks should, I think, feel at ease is that the President has taken this very seriously," and then reiterated once again her prepared talking points about the administration's response to date.

"No reason to struggle" on why Biden hasn't visited

Later in the briefing, a reporter noted that President Biden "frequently" visits disaster sites, both natural and man-made, and given the severity of the East Palestine incident, said, "So I guess I’m just struggling to understand why the President wouldn’t go to East Palestine. Does it simply not meet the bar for a presidential visit?"

"Look, I don’t -- it’s -- I want to be very clear here: There’s no reason to struggle, I don’t think, on this question," Jean-Pierre replied, and then -- again -- repeated the same talking points about how certain federal agencies had responded, even as her reply was briefly interrupted by the ringing phone of another reporter.

The first reporter noted that all of that was "different from a presidential visit, which is what I’m asking about," but the press secretary retorted, "No, it’s -- I -- I -- look, I want to be very clear here. I don’t -- again, I don’t have anything to share on a presidential visit. I -- not at this time, or anything to announce."

She then suggested that the federal response was the equivalent of the president "showing up" and that Biden had displayed real "leadership" throughout the entire ordeal.

Except, belatedly dispatching Cabinet officials -- after being beaten by a visit from the former president -- and blaming Republicans for unrelated railroad safety issues that have no bearing on this specific incident is pretty much the opposite of "showing up" and displaying "leadership," but is sadly just par for the course for this abominable administration.

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