Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appeared to be triggered by claims that he only visited the site of the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, because former President Donald Trump did it first.
Buttigieg spoke at length on a number of topics with CNN senior reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere, but the topic still drawing the most oxygen is the East Palestine derailment — and while the former mayor conceded a few mistakes, he argued that most of critics were not being fair to him.
Admitting that he should probably have gone to the site of the derailment — which was followed by a massive crash, a toxic chemical spill, and a failed attempt at a controlled burn — much earlier than he did (weeks after the initial crash), Buttigieg bristled at the idea that he was somehow goaded into making an appearance only after Trump showed up with trucks filled with clean drinking water and other supplies.
“That’s bulls***,” Buttigieg said. “We were already going to go.”
Buttigieg called Trump’s visit “somewhat maddening – to see someone who did a lot try to gut not just rail safety regulations, but the EPA, which is the number one thing standing between that community and a total loss of accountability for Norfolk Southern and then show up giving out bottled water and campaign swag?”
During his visit in Ohio, Trump said that “we’re like a third-world nation” with Pete Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary.
“We’re like a third-world nation, and this is an example of it, the breakdown. Our whole country is breaking down,” he said.
He added that Buttigieg “should have been here a long time ago.”
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