Biden Defends Decision To Not Visit East Palestine And To Not Speak With Mayor After Toxic Train Accident
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 14: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National Association of Counties legislative conference at the Washington Hilton Hotel on February 14, 2023 in Washington, DC. Biden spoke on his administration's recent legislative actions to rebuild American infrastructure and to help strengthen the middle class.
Alex Wong / Getty Images

President Joe Biden defended his decision to not visit East Palestine, Ohio, this month after a massive train derailment led to a toxic spill that is impacting the local community.

The catastrophic February 3 train derailment in the small Ohio community was caused by an overheated wheel bearing on the 23rd of 149 rail cars. Local officials subsequently evacuated all residents within one mile of the accident and started a controlled burn of the vinyl chloride that the train was transporting in an effort to prevent a massive explosion from occurring.

Biden made the remarks during an interview with ABC News host David Muir that aired on Friday.

“So do you plan to travel there and have you talked with the mayor?” Muir asked.

“I can’t recall whether, I don’t think I’ve talked to the mayor. I’ve talked to everyone else there,” Biden claimed. “Multiple times, talked to both the senators, both, both governors, I’ve talked to everyone that there is to talk to and we made it clear that everything is available.”

Muir then asked Biden about comments that the mayor of East Palestine made regarding Biden’s decision to not visit the American town while instead finding time to visit a foreign country.

“It’s been three weeks now since the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. As you know, the mayor says he saw you in Ukraine,” Muir said. “And he says it tells you he doesn’t care about us. They’re asking, ‘Is the president coming to Ohio?’”

“Do you have any plan to travel to Ohio?” Muir asked. “And have you talked with the mayor yet?”


“Let’s put this in perspective. Within two hours of that derailment, the EPA was in there, within two hours,” Biden said. “Every major agency in the United States government that’s had anything to do with rail and/or cleanup was there and is there.”

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