Trump announces trip to East Palestine, FEMA reverses course

After former president Donald Trump announced his potential visit to the town of East Palestine, Ohio, where a train derailment led to the release of deadly chemicals, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reversed its course.

Moments after he announced his trip to the town, FEMA offered its support to East Palestine.

However, the agency previously stated that Ohio was "ineligible" to receive assistance.

According to the office of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R):

The DeWine Administration has been in daily contact with FEMA to discuss the need for federal support, however, FEMA continues to tell Governor DeWine that Ohio is not eligible for assistance at this time. Governor DeWine will continue working with FEMA to determine what assistance can be provided.

On Truth Social, Trump said he got the Biden administration and FEMA to act

"Biden and FEMA said they would not be sending federal aid to East Palestine. As soon as I announced that I'm going, he announced a team will go. Hopefully, he will also be there. This is good news because we got them to move. The people of East Palestine need help. I'll see you Wednesday." he said.

The train derailment in Ohio led to plumes of smoke and polluted waterways.  Toxic chemicals were also released into the atmosphere.

Consequently, forced evacuations began in East Palestine due to concerns about air quality and explosions.

"The vinyl chloride contents of five rail cars are currently unstable and could potentially explode, causing deadly disbursement of shrapnel and toxic fumes," DeWine's office said in a statement.

James Justice of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that crews monitoring the town's air quality "have not seen anything" unexpected.

While Ohio's EPA says that the water in East Palestine is "safe to drink," residents have posted videos showing quite the opposite.

Furthermore, transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg downplayed the devastating events in Ohio by saying that there are "thousands of train derailments a year."

It took the Biden administration over ten days to address the issues in Ohio.  FEMA refused to assist the state, and the transportation secretary downplayed the events.

Yet as Trump announced his visit to East Palestine, the Biden administration flipped the switch on FEMA's previous refusal to help the people of Ohio.  Politics should never come before the lives of American citizens.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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