It sure looks like the White House wants Joe Biden to get credit for wanting to go to East Palestine, Ohio, without him actually having to go there. Of course, he could go there if he wanted to. He just won’t. Don’t expect it to happen.
On Thursday, Biden claimed he was planning to go to the site of the train derailment and environmental disaster at some point, but on Friday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre revealed during the daily press briefing that nothing has been scheduled.
“We don’t have a plan for the president to go at this time,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “We don’t have anything to preview to all of you at this time.”
“I believe you heard from the president just yesterday who said that he is planning to go there at some point. When that happens, we’re going to coordinate with state and local officials to make that trip occur.”
To hear her tell it, you would think it’s a logistical nightmare to plan such a trip. Yet, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was curiously able to find the time and resources to go within days of Trump announcing his intention to go to East Palestine. In fact, Buttigieg’s visit took place (literally) the day after Trump’s.
The Biden administration has come under significant criticism for its mishandling of the crisis, and usually, an administration loves to send the commander-in-chief to the site of a disaster to show not only how much he cares, but how in control of the situation he is. I guess the Biden administration isn’t even trying to pretend to care anymore, outside of boilerplate lip service.
“What the president has been focused on is making sure that we make the community, the people in East Palestine, whole again — to make sure that they get what they need to feel safe, to make sure that they feel like their community is healthy again,” Jean-Pierre claimed.
Oh, really? Is that why requests for aid from FEMA were rejected multiple times, until — that’s right — Donald Trump announced his plan to visit?
Also for our VIPs: Joe Biden’s Surprise Trip to Ukraine Is an Insult to East Palestine
Make no mistake about it: if Biden wanted to go to East Palestine, he would. They would make it work. After the racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y. last year, Biden was on site within three days.
It’s the trips Biden doesn’t make that really tell you who he is, though. After a black nationalist supporter of Black Lives Matter drove an SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisc., Biden never visited the grieving town, claiming the trip “requires a lot of assets.”
Biden also never visited Brooklyn, N.Y., after black nationalist Frank Robert James went on a shooting rampage in the subway last year, Nor did he visit Orange County, Calif., after a church shooting left one dead and five wounded.
Biden could visit East Palestine if he wanted to. Such trips can be planned relatively quickly if the White House finds something to be gained politically from it. I would guess that after seeing Pete Buttigieg’s disastrous visit there, which resulted in him facing an onslaught of harsh questions from the media about the administration’s poor response, they know there’s no point. If I were them, I certainly wouldn’t want Biden attempting to defend the administration’s poor response.