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The Brief

The Brief: Toxic Train Disaster Underscores the Incompetence of Biden’s ‘Woke’ Administration

Gregg is joined by Nino Perrotta, retired Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. EPA Protective Service Detail, Office of Criminal Enforcement and Compliance.

Joe Biden’s “woke” administration is a perfect storm of incompetence and stupidity.  The residents of East Palestine, Ohio, are his latest victims.

The toxic train derailment in the Ohio community of some 5,000 people is a major environmental, health, and transportation disaster.  Yet, Biden’s Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, won’t bother to even visit the site.  He should be fired for ignorance and indifference.

But Joe won’t do that because “Mayor Pete” is the first openly gay cabinet official.  Remember —and repeat after me— “Diversity is what counts, not competence.”  That mantra nicely sums up the Biden presidency and his bungling band of muttonheads.

Look at any major appointed position by the president.  Biden’s first and only criteria is checking a demographic box.  Forget qualifications.  Equity and inclusion are all that matters.  Blind allegiance to identity politics is how we ended up with people like Pete Buttigieg.  He doesn’t know anything about transportation.  Zero.  He’s spent his tenure at DOT obsessing over climate change.  His solution is to buy a Tesla.

Photo by Michael Swensen/Getty Images

At first, the seemingly part-time secretary dismissed the Ohio catastrophe by joking about it.  Then he blamed Trump, the standard fall-back position.  When that didn’t work he offered one of the dumbest remarks ever muttered by a cabinet member that “there are roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailing.”  So, you know, it’s no big deal.  Happens all the time.  Get over it.

That kind of oafishness is the inevitable result of picking a guy who has no experience or credentials to run the nation’s vast transportation system.  It also puts a lie to Biden’s boast when he cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline that rail transport is safer.

Why hasn’t our president visited the site?  Well, Ohio is solidly Republican and Biden lost the state in the 2020 election.  So politically, there’s nothing to be gained.  That’s how Joe looks at everything.  What’s in it for me?  At least he could pretend that he cares.

But Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency is there and telling everyone that things are just fine and dandy.  “Trust us,” begged the EPA Administrator, Michael Regan, who finally showed up in East Palestine late last week.  Seriously?  You’d have to be a lunatic to ever trust the government, especially this administration.  Trust is earned.  Biden’s government has not earned our trust, only our contempt.

If Regan believes what he says, he should take up the challenge by Ohio Senator JD Vance and drink the water himself.  Or take a bath.  Alas, he won’t.  He also won’t disclose the safety thresholds used to determine water safety, according to Vance.  Why not?  If you have nothing to hide, why hide it?

It was unconscionable, if not cruel, for Joe Biden to turn down a request for federal disaster assistance in Ohio.  With a wave of his pen, Biden could have done it immediately, but refused.  FEMA falsely claimed that the state is not eligible for relief because the train derailment is not a natural disaster.  In fact, it doesn’t have to be.  The law that established FEMA and federal assistance provides relief for man-made disasters, as well.  Even FEMA’s own website admits this.

Only when outrage ensued did Biden reverse course and agree to pony-up disaster aid.  That about-face happened right after former president Trump announced that he would visit East Palestine, even though Joe won’t.

Residents there are being told by the EPA that the area is perfectly safe.  Really?  Vinyl chloride is a deadly toxin.  But that’s not all.  There were a total of six hazardous chemicals on board the freight train.  After the wreck they were deliberately set ablaze and released into the environment.  Flames and thick black smoke billowed into the sky.  The now famous photograph looks like the community got nuked.

Cars, lawns, and homes are covered in soot.  Thousands of fish were found dead in streams with an oily-looking rainbow sheen on the water’s surface.  Those streams feed into the town’s drinking water.  Pets, livestock, and wildlife have reportedly been sickened.

Residents also complain of irritated eyes, painful rashes, debilitating headaches, and serious breathing issues.  It’ll probably get worse.  But people are being told the air is safe to breathe and the water is okay to drink.  Common sense and the evidence in plain sight tells us otherwise.

It is a forgone conclusion that Norfolk Southern Railway will get sued big time, as they should.  The rail behemoth owns and operates the train and tracks.  Under the guise of safety testing, the company asked residents to sign a document that would waive “any and all legal claims, personal injury or property damage.”

Initially, Norfolk denied it.  When confronted with the evidence, the company said the contract was a mistake.  Oops…we gave people the wrong form to sign.  Right.  Where is Biden’s Department of Justice?  Fraud as an inducement to a contract is illegal.  But the DOJ is way too busy investigating Trump and protecting Joe and Hunter Biden.

The train derailment happened two weeks ago.  But only now is Biden sending the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to the site for testing and assessment.  Did Joe suddenly awaken from his deep slumber?

Someone with an ounce of intelligence —a rare commodity in this White House— should tell Biden to get his butt on Air Force One and fly out to Ohio.

Again, at least pretend you care, Mr. President.