There is no way to deny that the Biden administration’s handling of the environmental disaster in East Palestine, Ohio is a major political problem that may not be easily swept under the rug by a normally compliant media as reporters are now asking serious questions.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was peppered by the press during Thursday’s daily briefing as criticism raged over President Joe Biden’s shunning of American victims of the derailment of a train carrying hazardous substances to instead visit Ukraine for a photo-op with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
(Video: YouTube/The White House)
Jean-Pierre, one of the regime’s ample collection of diversity hires faced repeated questions about her boss’s priorities as she delivered her spin on the unfolding catastrophe near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, an area visited by former President Donald J. Trump this week on the day before embattled U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg made his own belated trip to the site of the derailment and subsequent burn-off of toxic chemicals.
After being asked whether Biden was satisfied with the federal government’s disaster response, KJP gave a long and winding non-answer, culminating with, “So, yes, the President is — is certainly — is, again, staying upda- — updated on what is occurring on the ground, but also appreciative of the work that his multi-agencies have been doing over the past several weeks.”
Despite her repeatedly trying to dodge the hot topic to focus on matters overseas, reporters didn’t relent, repeatedly revisiting the topic throughout the session.
Among other questions posed to Biden’s top spox was one about comments from East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway who called Biden’s trip to Kyiv a “slap in the face,” telling Fox News anchor Jesse Watters that he was “furious” about the slight of his town during an appearance on the conservative network this week.
“That was the biggest slap in the face. That tells you right now he doesn’t care about us,” the mayor said.
East Palestine Mayor: Biden ignoring us is a slap in the face #FoxNews pic.twitter.com/1YmnkPrOnF
— Jesse Watters Primetime (@jesseprimetime) February 21, 2023
“Look, I’ll say this,” Jean-Pierre continued in the briefing, “and I kind of said this at the top already, which is, you know, I laid out what we have done since the derailment of February 3rd and how we were on the ground very early on.”
“And — and we believe that we have had a all-of-government, all- — all-hands approach to this not just with the agencies, but also with the different teams here in the White House,” she said without directly answering the question on the mayor’s strong remarks.
“Has the president spoken to the mayor of East Palestine —,” Jean-Pierre was again asked, and whether he has any plans on doing so.
“I don’t have a call to read out or a planned conversation,” she said.
“I can tell you, as I’ve mentioned before, the president has spoken to president — pardon me — to Governor DeWine of Ohio and Governor Shapiro of Pennsylvania, and has — has had regular contact. Our teams have had regular contact,” she added, declining to address Mayor Conaway’s comments.
Later in the session, the question was asked as to whether Biden intended to visit East Palestine, “I know you can’t say if the president has plans to go there now. But is it in discussion that the president may go there in the near future?”
“I just don’t have anything to share. I know — I know there’s a lot of interest on that,” Jean-Pierre replied.
The reporter refused to relent, “Wouldn’t it make — I mean, I guess the question the folks are — for folks there, though, at least to say it’s in discussion. Has it been something that’s even under consideration?”
Jean-Pierre responded, “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.”
Biden himself showed how “very seriously” he is taking the plight of suffering Americans in Ohio, telling reporters that he had no plans to visit but did say that he had done a Zoom video.
Q: “Are you planning on traveling to East Palestine?”
BIDEN: “At this moment not. I was, I did a whole video, I mean, uh, you know, the uh, what the Hell? On Zoom. All I can hear every time I think of Zoom is that song of my generation, 'Who's Zoomin' Who?'” pic.twitter.com/tFo4zHhEkk
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) February 24, 2023
“All I can think of every time I think of Zoom is that song in my generation, ‘Who’s Zooming who?'” Biden joked when confronted on the White House lawn by pool reporters on Friday.
Jean-Pierre also lashed out at criticism of Buttigieg, suggesting that he was above reproach and of course, muh Trump…
“I do want to say one thing, though, which is there’s been a lot of bad-faith attacks on Secretary Buttigieg. And the reason why we believe it’s bad faith is — if you remember Elaine Chao, she was — you know, she was the head of Department of Transportation. And where — when there was these types of chemical spills, nobody was calling for her to be fired. And nobody was calling for what they’re calling on Mayor — Secretary Pete,” she said, dropping the name of the former president’s transportation secretary, the wife of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a part of ongoing efforts to shift the blame for the disaster to Trump.
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