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Trump praises ‘betrayed’ residents, workers in East Palestine, Ohio

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
February 23, 2023

Former President Donald Trump responded to the Biden administration's inaction in Ohio by traveling to East Palestine, Ohio — site of the chemical disaster caused by the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train on February 3rd — by bringing food and supplies. While there, he praised residents and workers, who he said had been betrayed by President Joe Biden and his administration.

Trump arrives in East Palestine with water, cleaning supplies, and food

Trump made a point of calling out the "strength and courage" of the East Palestine Fire Department, police department, and residents of the village, according to the Daily Mail.

"You are not forgotten," he said during a speech in the building of the fire department.

Trump visited East Palestine with some practical supplies on Wednesday and found that the residents were furious with Washington, but grateful to see him.

The general sentiment is that they feel Washington is not responsive enough regarding the aftereffects of the train disaster with which they are still grappling.

Some of the concerns that people have are unsafe drinking water, and the long-term effects that the chemical disaster will have on their health.

Trump told the people they are victims of "betrayal" by the White House and Washington.

He brought thousands of bottles of "Trump" brand water, cleaning supplies and canned food, according to the Daily Mail.

The East Palestine Fire Department and Ohio Republican Senator J.D. Vance helped to distribute the water to the residents.

"We're bringing thousands of bottles of water - Trump Water, actually. Most of it. Some of it we had to go to a much lesser quality water, you want to get those Trump bottles," Trump said in a speech.

Two private moving companies transport water, donate funds to village

Two moving companies from out-of-state helped with getting water to the people of East Palestine.

Blue Line Moving, headquartered in Florida, and 2 Fellas Moving Company in Oklahoma  helped to transport both the Trump water and donations of water from Florida and Oklahoma.

"I said, you know, they could sure use some water up there, I bet. And coming from south Florida, knowing how expensive it is when hurricanes come," John Rourke, Owner of Blue Line Moving told WKBN.

Rourke is a business partner with 2 Fellas Moving Company, and so the two companies worked together to bring a total of 13 pallets of water, nine of which were Trump water.

Rourke believes that's a total of about 18,000 bottles of water.

2  Fellas Moving Company also raised $6,000 in Oklahoma to donate to East Palestine.

They made a point of letting residents know the water was free.

Residents express growing concerns during town hall

During a town hall on Wednesday, residents voiced growing concerns about air quality and water safety from the release of the toxic chemicals, according to CBS News.

There have been reports of burning eyes, ill pets and dead fish in waterways in spite of the EPA declaring that the air and water are safe.

CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus weighed in regarding the concerns of the residents.

"When this happened, there wasn't a playbook of we can do X and Y if this spills" he said. "They're developing that playbook as we speak, and that is very difficult for them to do on the fly and obviously dramatically stressful for anybody who lives in that area ... We don't know what is a safe concentration in the air, in the soil and the water of any of these compounds."

He added that his biggest concern is that the issues will never be resolved and things will get worse.

FEMA and federal government begin taking action

Though FEMA assistance was initially denied to the community, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has been able to get that decision reversed, according to WKYC.

A Regional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) has been deployed, and workers will be providing support for clean-up operations, which will include incident coordination and continuous assessments of what may be needed for recovery over the long-term.

The EPA has ordered Norfolk Southern to take every possible measure to clean up contaminated air and water, and is requiring the company to repay the federal government for a new program designed to provide cleaning services for residents and businesses impacted by the disaster, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is expected to visit East Palestine on Thursday to meet with members of the community, according to WLWT.

Buttigieg will also receive an update from the National Transportation Safety Board regarding its initial findings.