President Joe Biden exited the White House on Wednesday and claimed his 418th vacation day to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands to put his feet up for New Year’s. East Palestine, Ohio, residents are basking in no such luxury.
They are asking why he has abandoned them as they work to recover from February’s fiery Norfolk Southern train derailment that spilled 1.6 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the local community, affecting its 4,700 residents, as Breitbart News reported.
A full eight months later residents have told New York Times reporter Erica L. Green they feel ignored by a man who took office proudly proclaiming himself as “working class Joe,” echoing complaints that have been growing since the catastrophe.
FLASHBACK: John Rourke — East Palestine Residents Still Begging for Help as Biden Ignores Them
Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News
“I feel like I don’t matter,” area local Jessica Conard shared with the outlet, outlining her despair with the president she voted for in 2020. She was particularly aghast that he flew past her town in September to join picketing union workers in Michigan, a key swing state.
She was not alone in claiming Biden’s absence feels like disrespect.
Despite years of promoting himself as a man of the people Biden is widely viewed in East Palestine as just another member of the Washington elites neglecting the catastrophe in their midst.
“I believe that it is political for him,” Krissy Ferguson told the NYT, who lives within a mile of where the train derailed, in a county former President Donald Trump won with more than 70 per cent of votes in 2020.
“I believe that if we were in a blue area, he would have come, and that hurts,” she confided.
FLASHBACK: East Palestine Resident Tears Up Asking Country to “Pray for Us”
Alana Mastrangelo / Breitbart News
In March, Biden said he would visit the town at “some point.”
In September, he was pressed on the issue again. “I haven’t had the occasion to go to East Palestine,” Biden said as he prepared to leave for the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi. “There is a lot going on here and I haven’t been able to break.”
The closest the president has come to East Palestine was in August when he flew overhead while heading to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for an event touting “Bidenomics,” his economic agenda.
By contrast former President Donald Trump was on the ground three weeks after the derailment, where he delivered truckloads of bottled water to the small town then still in disarray, as Breitbart News reported.
Former President Donald Trump told Breitbart News that President Joe Biden should have been in East Palestine, Ohio, but “chose to go a different route,” referring to Biden’s recent trip to Kyiv, Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/9GKYPYYGSi
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 23, 2023
“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 as the visit unfolded.
The NYT report states the White House maintains Biden still plans to visit.
“The president continues to oversee a robust recovery effort to support the people of East Palestine, and he will visit when it is most helpful for the community,” Jeremy M. Edwards, a White House spokesman, was quoted by the outlet.