Updated: Feb 19
Former president Donald Trump has announced he will visit East Palestine, Ohio next week, while his son Don Jr. said that if leaders in Washington are “too afraid” to see the aftermath
of the train derailment and toxic chemical spill with their own eyes, then “real leaders” will have to step up to the plate.
Trump took to Truth Social to say he’ll be traveling to the afflicted Ohio community on Feb. 22. “The people of East Palestine need help. I’ll see you on Wednesday!” Trump wrote.
Vinyl chloride has a range of potential impacts on animal and human health, including cancer of the liver and other organs, reported Tom Ozimek of the Epoch Times.
Fearing an uncontrolled explosion, crews also deliberately engineered a controlled burn of vinyl chloride, which sent more smoke into the air.
Fallout from the derailment prompted the temporary evacuation of East Palestine’s 5,000 or so residents.
Some locals have reported that their pets and livestock have shown concerning symptoms like vomiting and liquid diarrhea.
Multiple residents have also complained of headaches, vomiting, skin rashes, and blood in the stool.
The Biden administration subsequently alerted Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine that the derailment and chemical spill doesn’t qualify for an emergency declaration, although the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it will send a team to the disaster site.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg didn’t address the incident until ten days after the train derailed in a fiery crash that sent a black cloud into the air over East Palestine from burning vinyl chloride.
In a press release Friday, Ohio state Sen. Michael Rulli of Salem (R-33rd) blasted Transportation Secretary Buttigieg and called for his resignation over his department’s lack of action and concern for East Palestine.
While praising Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley for providing six trailers of bottled water Friday in an attempt to get as many as 30 cases of water to every affected family, Rulli continues to suggest anyone within the city, or within 3 or 4 miles of the city, should not be drinking the water despite assurances by Gov. DeWine and the Ohio EPA.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been screening homes in East Palestine for air quality and testing water for contaminants, reported Mr. Ozimek.
EPA said in a Feb. 17 update that over 500 homes have been tested for indoor air quality.
“To date there have been no detections of vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride above levels of concern,” the agency said.
The agency also said that 38 private wells have been sampled as of Feb. 17, with another 9 scheduled for later.
Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine said his office will be filing paperwork to preserve the rights to call FEMA in if the agency is needed in the future or if Norfolk Southern for some reason stops paying to help residents.
“We believe that the railroad should continue to pay, and we’re going to insist that they pay,” DeWine said. “Whatever damages that were caused, the railroad is responsible for those damages.”
One form of help East Palestine will receive is through the Department of Health and Human Services, which DeWine said has agreed to send experts to set up a clinic for residents in the area, including anyone who has health concerns, evaluate symptoms and receive medical expertise from those who are experts regarding chemical exposures. Information about the location and hours of the clinic will be available HERE. Those setting up the clinic are expected to arrive Monday. DeWine also outlined opportunities for mental health assistance for residents, who have been through a difficult situation.
Meanwhile, Ohio’s MAGA conservative Republican Senator J.D. Vance was considerably more direct and vocal than Governor DeWine, tweeting:
"This is disgusting. The fact that we have not cleaned up the train crash, the fact that these chemicals are still seeping in the ground is an insult to the people who live in East Palestine. Do not forget these people, we've got to keep applying pressure," Vance said.
"What I've heard from people inside is financially Norfolk Southern is providing resources, but in terms of clean-up, I think they're very far behind," Vance said during a media availability in East Palestine.
Trump’s prompt attention to the disaster in East Palestine, Ohio reminds us of the speech he gave in Monessen, Pennsylvania, during which he converted us from Trump sceptics to Trump believers, and in the process destroyed the Washington Uniparty and its paymasters in the Wall Street – Washington – Silicon Valley axis:
Many Pennsylvania towns, once thriving and humming, are now in a state of total disrepair. This wave of globalization has wiped out totally, totally, our middle class. It does not have to be this way. We can turn it around and we can turn it around fast.
But if we are going to deliver real change, we’re going to have to reject the campaign of fear and intimidation being pursued by powerful corporations, media leaks and political dynasties. The people who rigged the system for their benefit will do anything and say anything to keep things exactly the way they are.
The people who rigged the system are supporting Hillary Clinton because they know as long as she is in charge, nothing is going to change. The inner cities will remain poor. The factories will remain closed. The borders will remain open. The special interests will remain firmly in control. Hillary Clinton and her friends in global finance want to scare America into thinking small.
In that 2016 speech Trump made another point that should be self-evident to America’s political class – or perhaps it is self-evident, and they are so corrupt that they just don’t care – but it was something that most likely swung the 2016 election to Donald Trump:
America became the world’s dominant economy by becoming the world’s dominant producer. You know that from right here, right in this plant.
The wealth this created was shared broadly, creating the biggest middle-class the world has ever known. But then, America changed its policy from promoting development in America — in, in, in America — to promoting development in other nations. That’s what’s happening and that’s what’s happened.
We allowed foreign countries to subsidize their goods, devalue their currencies, violate their agreements and cheat in every way imaginable, and our politicians did nothing about it. Trillions of our dollars and millions of our jobs flowed overseas as a result. I have visited cities and towns across this country where one-third or even half of manufacturing jobs have been wiped out in the last 20 years. Today, we import nearly $800 billion more in goods than we export. We can’t continue to do that. This is not some natural disaster, it’s a political and politician-made disaster.
America’s economic meltdown and the meltdown of our national infrastructure that caused the disastrous train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio are both political and politician-made disasters. Trump’s unerring eye for the weaknesses of the Washington Uniparty establishment and his – unprompted – tendency to take the part of the little guy and connect with the concerns of America’s working families are what will resuscitate a Trump campaign to regain the White House. If Trump will stay on that message Wednesday’s stop in East Palestine, Ohio will an important waypoint on his road back to the presidency.
East Palestine, Ohio Toxic Chemical Spill
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg
Governor Mike DeWine
Georgia Grand Jury indictument
grand jury report