Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited East Palestine, Ohio, on Thursday, nearly three weeks after the fiery train derailment and subsequent release of toxic chemicals, but his press secretary refused to answer key questions from reporters because of the presence of cameras.
“This morning I’m in East Palestine, Ohio, to see the site of the Norfolk Southern derailment, hear updates from investigators, and meet first responders. USDOT will continue its work to ensure safety and accountability,” Buttigieg posted to social media mere days after refusing to tell the media when, exactly, he planned to visit the affected area:
This morning I’m in East Palestine, Ohio, to see the site of the Norfolk Southern derailment, hear updates from investigators, and meet first responders. USDOT will continue its work to ensure safety and accountability. pic.twitter.com/okA6WI7uzI
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 23, 2023
“But yes, when the time is right, I do plan to visit East Palestine. I don’t have a date for you right now,” he said this week. However, the Transportation secretary appeared to quickly set a date after former President Donald Trump visited the area ahead of both Buttigieg and President Biden, delivering truckloads of water to residents and buying first responders McDonald’s.
WATCH — Donald Trump Hangs with Americans at East Palestine McDonalds:Alana Mastrangelo / Breitbart News
“We’re like a third-world nation, and this is an example of it, the breakdown. Our whole country is breaking down,” Trump said during Wednesday’s stop in East Palestine, adding that Buttigieg should have been there “a long time ago.”
WATCH — Donald Trump: “Boot Edge Edge” Should Have Been in East Palestine a “Long Time Ago”:Alana Mastrangelo / Breitbart News
Trump also criticized Biden, who opted to travel to Ukraine this week, rather than visit the residents of East Palestine.
“I think he should’ve come here. I think he should’ve been here. He should’ve been here, and he chose to go a different route,” Trump told Breitbart News.
WATCH — Donald Trump: Joe Biden Should Have Been in East Palestine but “Chose to Go a Different Route”:Alana Mastrangelo / Breitbart News
Meanwhile, Buttigieg — who has been viewed by Americans as relatively inaccessible and delayed regarding his response to transportation-related incidents — is still failing to answer key questions.
Video footage shows Buttigieg being escorted from reporters and his press secretary addressing them, instead. However, she refused to answer any questions because of the presence of cameras.
When faced with questions about why it took Buttigieg three weeks to visit East Palestine — after former President Donald Trump — the press secretary did not provide an answer and, instead, opted to complain about cameras.
“I’m happy to have a conversation with you. I do not want to be on camera,” she said.
“I would like you guys to turn your cameras off,” she repeated as one reporter asked, “Don’t you think you should be able to ask [sic] questions from the American public?”
“Absolutely. I would like to do it without the camera on,” Buttigieg’s spokeswoman continued, dismissing other inquiries because of the cameras and contending she could not have a conversation because people were recording her.
Pete Buttigieg is escorted away from media while his press secretary makes herself known & says she’ll answer questions for him – but only if she isn’t recorded on camera…@TPUSA | @DrewHLive pic.twitter.com/sM12BEfJMi
— Rebecca Brannon (@RebsBrannon) February 23, 2023