Biden says he’ll visit East Palestine – but won’t say when
President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he will visit East Palestine, Ohio ‘at some point’ after growing pressure to do so from both sides of the aisle.
A freight train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in the small town on Feb. 3, spurring environmental and health concerns among residents there.
Standing alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after a closed-door meeting with Democrats on Capitol Hill Thursday, Biden was asked by reporters whether he will visit Ohio.
‘I’ve spoken with every official in Ohio, Democrat and Republican, on a continuous basis, as in Pennsylvania,’ the president replied first.
He said he ‘laid out’ during his meeting with senators what he thinks ‘the answers are’ to handling the train wreck and ‘we will be implementing an awful lot to the legislation here.’
That came in reference to a bipartisan bill introduced last month by Ohio’s two senators aimed at improving rail safety protocols.
‘And I will be out there at some point,’ Biden said without elaborating on a timeframe.
Fox News reached out to the White House for further details but did not immediately hear back.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about Biden’s promise to visit during her regular news briefing on Thursday.
‘I don’t have any trips to preview for you at this time,’ Jean-Pierre said.
Schumer told reporters that during the meeting, Biden also expressed support for the bipartisan Railway Safety Act brought by Senators Sherrod Brown and JD Vance of Ohio.
Residents of East Palestine and the surrounding area, including part of Pennsylvania, have been voicing concerns about the health risks after hazardous chemicals that the Norfolk Southern freight train was carrying were burned at the site, sending a plume of thick black smoke into the sky.
Officials including Republican Ohio Governor Mike DeWine have insisted the water and air there are safe.
But multiple reports show that people living there have listed an array of worrying symptoms including headaches, dizziness and nausea in the weeks since the derailment.
DeWine called on Biden to visit the area in an interview with Fox News earlier on Thursday.
‘The president needs to come. The people want to see the president. He should be there,’ the governor said.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited East Palestine last week, though he was criticized for not addressing the incident sooner.
Biden officials have rebuffed such attacks by blaming the derailment on the Trump administration’s scaling back of rail regulations.