Trump to visit East Palestine to learn about the situation from residents

The GOP primary candidate will travel next Wednesday, a source told Fox News. The White House defends its response.

Donald Trump will travel to East Palestine (Ohio) following the train derailment on February 3. A source close to the former president told Fox News that he will travel next Wednesday to the site where tons of toxic compounds such as phosgene and hydrogen chloride were dumped. He will meet with the mayor and key administrators to learn first-hand about the situation facing the city.

No one from the Biden administration has confirmed a visit to East Palestine. Instead, more than two weeks after the accident, Thomas Sivak, regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), reported that a team will be sent to the location this weekend for the first time:

FEMA and the State of Ohio have been in constant contact regarding emergency operations in East Palestine. U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA have been working together since day one. Tomorrow, FEMA will supplement federal efforts by deploying a Senior Response Official along with a Regional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to support ongoing operations, including incident coordination and ongoing assessments of potential long-term recovery needs.

The White House defends its response

Although no member of the federal cabinet has visited East Palestine so far, White House Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended the Biden administration’s response by reminding the public of the solution they came up with regarding the release of toxic components:

We have mobilized a robust, multi-agency effort to support the people of East Palestine. When these incidents happen, you need to let the emergency response take place. We did take action and folks were on the ground.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan tried to reassure East Palestine residents:

I’m asking they trust the government. I know that’s hard. We know there’s a lack of trust. Officials are testing for everything that was on that train.

Chemical odor persists

Trent Conaway, mayor of East Palestine, told Fox News that the toxic odor was still noticeable in the air and some people are experiencing difficulties breathing. He said that residents deserve better:

You can definitely smell it in downtown and around the shopping district of our town. They were late to the dance, as I like to say, and our people deserve better.

Conaway added that the Biden administration made "a bunch of excuses" for not showing up at the location.

The Senate Energy and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing to address the toxic spill and propose solutions that will help the environment and the health of East Palestine residents. Committee leaders Tom Carper (D-Delaware) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) said:

We believe this is an important step to ensure that response prioritizes the health and safety of those impacted by this terrible accident.