Mayor Pete Tries To Respond to Why He Didn’t Show Up to Disaster

Mayor Pete Tries To Respond to Why He Didn't Show Up to Disaster

( – It took Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg nearly three weeks to make the time to visit the site of the February East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment. Yet, he managed to work his way to Philadelphia to view the wreckage strewn about in the wake of the collapse of an overpass on I-95 in less than 48 hours. However, he did take a few minutes of his time to respond to a reporter’s question before leaving.

On June 13, Daily Caller News Foundation reporter Jennie Taer asked Buttigieg about the difference in timing between the two disaster sites. The transportation secretary told her that he stepped outside of protocol and precedent by deciding to visit East Palestine, adding that it was conventional wisdom that “transportation secretaries don’t go to active response sites.” He told Taer he learned vital lessons from the trip, including “the importance of presence” in facilitating understanding, coordination, and teamwork.

Buttigieg concluded his answer to Taer by explaining how the “ongoing conversation[s]” with those in East Palestine had given him valuable insight and enhanced his ability to respond to the situation in Philadelphia.

In a March 5 interview with CNN, Buttigieg confirmed he’d made mistakes regarding the East Palestine incident. He said he should have gone to the site earlier and “failed to anticipate the political fallout from the toxic train derailment.” More to the point, the Transportation secretary admitted going to the site earlier probably would have made a difference to the residents in East Palestine.

Apparently, Buttigieg took the lesson to heart because he made a point of coordinating a visit to the I-95 collapse site much quicker than before. The accident happened Sunday, June 11, when a tanker truck hauling gasoline overturned under the I-95 Cottman Avenue overpass while attempting to make a left turn and burst into flames. The extreme heat from the fire caused structural damage to the overpass’s concrete and steel I-beams, causing catastrophic failure and collapse. The tanker driver, Nathan Moody, died in the incident.

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