Press Secretary Pledges Biden Will Visit East Palestine

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will visit East Palestine, a community still working to recover from a devastating train wreck Feb. 3, the president’s press secretary said.

The announcement by press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a Tuesday afternoon press briefing came a few days after the president said he “hadn’t been able to break” to pay a visit earlier to the Columbiana County community.

“The president will go to East Palestine. He promised that he would, and he will,” Jean-Pierre said in response to a question from a reporter, according to a White House transcript. She did not have a time or date for a trip to announce but reiterated that Biden would go.

“I will say this again: The President is going to go to East Palestine, as he has said that he is committed to do,” she emphasized.

While touring sections of Florida over the weekend that had been damaged by Hurricane Idalia, Biden was asked why he hadn’t been to East Palestine.

“I haven’t had the occasion to go to East Palestine. There is a lot going on here, and I just haven’t been able to break,” he responded. “I was thinking whether I’d go to East Palestine this week, but I then was reminded I’ve got to go literally around the world.”  

Biden is scheduled to travel to New Delhi to attend the G20 Leaders Summit that begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. From there he will travel to Hanoi, Vietnam.  

“It’s going to be a while,” Biden told reporters Saturday. “But we’re making sure that East Palestine has what they need materially to deal with their problems.”

Just a few weeks after the train derailment, Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, made a visit to East Palestine on Feb. 22. Other elected officials also have made visits to the community in the months since the accident, including Ohio’s two U.S. senators, Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, and J.D. Vance, a Republican, as well as U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, whose district includes East Palestine. Both Vance and Johnson have criticized Biden for not visiting East Palestine before now.

Pictured at top: President Joe Biden waves as he walks on the South Lawn as he arrives at the White House on Sept. 4, 2023. (AP Photo | Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.