A date has finally been set for President Joe Biden to travel to East Palestine and mark just over one year since the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals devastated the nearby town.
The White House issued an advisory flagging the arrival of Biden as this coming Friday after forecasting his visit late last month but declining then to give a definitive date.
Biden wants to ensure state and local officials “hold Norfolk Southern accountable” the statement said:
[T]he President will travel to East Palestine, Ohio to discuss how the Administration is continuing to work with state and local officials to hold Norfolk Southern accountable and support the community as it moves forward.
The President will discuss his commitment to ensuring the people of East Palestine are not defined by this single event, and that his administration is delivering on the needs of families, businesses, and affected residents.
Biden was heavily criticized at the time of the incident for never visiting in the weeks and months that followed the February 3, 2023, disaster.
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Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News
Residents were finally given the all-clear to return to their homes February 8 but not before toxic vinyl chloride gas was vented and burned, releasing a plume of black smoke over the town for days.
On their return they were met by former President Donald Trump who visited the disaster scene after the accident, where he delivered truckloads of bottled water to residents.
“President Trump is meeting with the citizens of East Palestine, and he will never forget them and what they are going through. Contrast that with Biden and the federal government, who have failed them from the beginning,” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told Breitbart News at the time.
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As recently as last September Biden claimed he has not “had the occasion” to go East Palestine despite promising to do so in March, after the train derailment resulted in a toxic chemical spill that led to air and water contamination of the village, as Breitbart News reported.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was previously asked whether Biden still had plans to visit East Palestine. She told reporters, “The president will visit when it’s most helpful to the community.”
As Breitbart News’ Sean Moran reported, Biden flew directly over East Palestine last August on his way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for an event promoting “Bidenomics,” his economic agenda.
Some residents have said they felt forgotten as time passed and Biden’s absence became more noticeable as they watched the president rush to the scenes of other disasters, including the wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui and hurricanes in Florida.