Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday visited East Palestine, Ohio, the site of a 50-car train derailment earlier this month, delivering bottled water and buying McDonald’s Big Macs for first responders.
Wearing his trademark “Make America Great Again” hat, Trump made a speech in a local firehouse, calling the train derailment a “nightmare” and a “tragedy.”
Trump also criticized the Biden Administration for their reaction to the train derailment.
“Biden and FEMA said they would not send federal aid to East Palestine under any circumstance,” Trump said. “They were intending to do absolutely nothing for you.”
Trump claimed that the Biden Administration “changed their tune” after he announced his visit to Ohio. “We can’t let this happen, they said, and we’ll be there,” said Trump. “And we opened up the dam, and we got them to move.”
PBS reports that shortly before Trump arrived in Ohio, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has been facing criticism for not visiting East Palestine, announced he would also visit.
The 50-car derailment occurred on Feb. 3 and led to officials releasing and burning toxic vinyl chloride, a chemical used to make plastics. PBS reports that since the derailment, residents have complained about headaches and other health ailments and “thousands of fish have been found dead, and residents have talked about finding dying or sick pets and wildlife.”
President Joe Biden has not yet visited East Palestine, but he did make a surprise visit to Ukraine earlier this week.