'As the Dust Settles': Joe Biden Comes to Pittsburgh


In Pittburgh, this happened -- just ahead of Joe Biden's visit to the city on Friday:

Screen shot, ABC News, Pittsburgh Public Safety via YouTube

“And we’re going to fix them all, no joke,” said President Joe Biden, appearing live on CBS Local, KDKA Television News, from the edge of the drop off in the road where the Fern Hollow Bridge spanned Pittsburgh’s east end Frick Park ravine just hours earlier, referring to his astonishment about discovering that he never knew, despite being a “Pennsylvania Boy”, that there are more bridges in Pittsburgh than anywhere else in the world.

Already scheduled today to visit Pittsburgh to tout his infrastructure plan at the Hazelwood former Steel Mill 19, upon arriving in Pittsburgh, the president instead delayed that trip longer, wasting no time detouring directly to the site of the fallen bridge and for a much-needed “strong in crisis” photo op.

Earlier in the day, along with his tweet about his phone call to the president, Pittsburgh’s new mayor, Ed Gainey, had this to say about the bridge collapse on Twitter:

Images: Twitter screen shots

He would say later, “It made me feel proud that the president of the United States had our back,” referring to Mr. Biden’s detour to visit the site of the bridge collapse.

Everyone, including the president, no doubt, is genuinely thankful as Mayor Ed Gainey, that the collapse of Pittsburgh’s Fern Hollow Bridge wasn’t more serious, especially that no lives were lost. Thankfully, Pittsburgh City Schools had a snow delay this morning freeing the bridge of its usual school bus traffic, and the cold weather deterred the most of usual joggers and hikers normally found at this hour of the morning on the Frick Park trails which run in the ravine beneath the bridge during warmer months.

A tandem Port Authority of Allegheny Public Transportation Bus did, however, find itself, along its driver and two other persons aboard, stranded on a portion of the bridge that collapsed but luckily did not fall completely to the ground below. They are rescued and reportedly in “fair” condition at UPMC Hospital.

Of the ten people in who reportedly sustained injuries related to the bridge collapse, apparently only the bus passengers and one other went to the hospital for treatment.

Still, Biden and his staff must have also been at least a little thankful that, if such a tragedy had to occur, it would be today, and in the very city where he was scheduled to tout his infrastructure plan, if for no other reason than it finally provides a lead news story about something that fell faster than Joe’s approval ratings since January.  Progressives are renowned for, “engineering reality,” but it must’ve been even unreal for them to believe such a strike of good luck could occur with any better timing!

The president’s party is after all, the party which prides itself for never letting a crisis go to waste, and what bigger opportunity can one ask for than a chasm of cement rubble and twisted steel, where a bridge stood hours earlier; and a badly needed photo-op of the president looking presidential, echoing tired cliches through his mask, with the kind of over-promising he made there today?

But it wasn’t just the president and Mayor Gainey who were talking about the bridge collapse in Pittsburgh this morning.

Appearing on Newsmax TV, Pittsburgh’s rising conservative star, Wendy Bell, who’s been repeatedly forced off-air by one local liberal news outlet after another because her conservative straight talk has offended so many of Pittsburgh’s liberal viewers, before landing her own show, "Wendy Bell Common Sense" debut[ing] at 4:30 p.m. ET this Saturday on Newsmax,” had this to say, "Americans want action, not lip service."

Image: Twitter screen shot

Less well-known Pittsburghers also had something to say about today’s events. Responding to the mayor’s tweets, someone that goes by the name, “Freedom Flu Yinzer,” sarcastically tweeted this: “The collapsed bridge is symbolic of the decades upon decades of strong Democratic city leadership.” I posted it above.


A few other Pittsburgher’s responded as  “D. Gatcha- Hines”, did, tweeting a post of a bridge maintenance report from three years ago that was already alerting to the dangerous condition of the bridge:

Image: City of Pittsburgh

In fact, it’s been about 87 years since Pittsburgh’s last Republican mayor, and although the city has slowly rebuilt itself, after years of job losses, property value losses, and massive population losses due to out migration of its residents after the collapse of steel industry jobs in the late 1970s and early 80s, little of that new-found high-tech wealth has gone to repairing its bridges that which could have prevented another potentially much more deadly type of collapse like today’s, despite the reality that these bridges are crossed thousands of times every day by adults and children, in cars and buses, on their way to work, school, and play, and Pittsburgh is subject to harsh winter conditions that are hard on infrastructure.

Reportedly, over 100 bridges in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County alone have “poor” condition ratings, while former Democratic Mayor Bill Peduto, the Democrat-led Pittsburgh City Council, and the Democrat-led Allegheny County Council each busied themselves addressing more pressing matters like choking already narrow city streets with bike lanes, and passing the “Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair (CROWN) Acts, which prohibit discrimination based on hairstyle and “protective and cultural hair textures and hairstyles,” in October 2020.  Most recently, at the end of December, 2021, City Council’s passed a bill “to prohibit officers from pulling over drivers for secondary violations… for things such as a broken tail light, the location of a registration plate or an out-of-date inspection certification.”  Democratic city council member, Erika Strassburger, has only just recently decided to wait a while so her a bill to eliminate the plastic grocery bags within the city limits, so that as she, “said, joking that the bill should be as airtight as a Ziploc bag.”

Perhaps the most explosive tweet of the day came from a Richard C. Brown, who responded to the mayor’s tweet by seeming to allege that the bridge was, a “planned demolition by [White House Chief of Staff], Ron Klain.”

Now, of course, this tweet suggesting a conspiracy to bring down the bridge by a member of the president’s cabinet was almost certainly written in jest. But, later finally speaking at Hazelwood’s Mill 19, a visibly reenergized Biden, likely still unable to believe the fortuitous events of the day that would make for such a perfect lead-in to what he really came to talk about, seemed barely able to contain his excitement while making “conciliatory” remarks about today’s bridge collapse, his gratitude for the first responders, and how it’s a perfect example of why his infrastructure spending is so necessary to prevent similar collapses and possibly deaths in the future.

Tucked in between his usual folksy banter with the locals, a slurring through of statistics and location names, his always expected moment of feigned outrage, intermingled with two moments of his signature creepy whispering, the president proclaimed proudly how he was going to bring good paying manufacturing jobs back to America, how he is rightly taking credit for the U.S.’s higher than predicted fourth quarter economic expansion, and for his successfully passing a bi-partisan infrastructure bill which will rebuild the country’s crumbling roads and bridges, and not add a single dollar to the deficit, (If any of my fellow Pittsburghers are dumb enough to believe this, I know someone who will sell the city the Brooklyn Bridge to replace the one that tumbled into the City’s Fern Hollow this morning).  

Now that the dust has finally settled on Biden’s big break in Pittsburgh. With the photo-op and speech to the local choir over, all the excitement of the day is over, and the City of Bridges is quiet again, resting peacefully again under a gentle blanket of snow that’s been falling off and on all day.

So, now’s the time for Pittsburghers, including myself, to reflect on Joe’s Pittsburgh pitch of promises, whether like the closing chorus of that old song goes, “[l]ike a bridge over troubled water, [he] will ease your mind,” and actually come through on his pledge to rebuild our bridges, “fix them all, no joke.”



Some local news sources:

Updated after speech:

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-local/2022/01/28/President-Biden-will-make-second-visit-of-his-presidency-to-Pittsburgh-today/stories/202201280059 and corroborates Biden’s comments a collapse site.

Original story:


Wendy Bell Newsmax appearance:



Reuters Twitter report:


More Post-Gazette Coverage:






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