“Mayor Pete” Tries to Respond to Why He Didn’t Show Up to Disaster

On Tuesday, Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg faced questioning from a reporter regarding the apparent discrepancy in his promptness to visit the I-95 collapse site compared to his delay in visiting the train derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio.

While it took Secretary Buttigieg approximately two weeks to visit the location of a chemical spill following a train derailment on February 3 in East Palestine, his response was relatively swift regarding the I-95 collapse in Philadelphia. 

The I-95 collapse occurred on June 11 and resulted in a tanker truck catching fire, which partially collapsed the major interstate.

The reporter sought clarification as to why Secretary Buttigieg acted more promptly in the case of the I-95 collapse, considering the disparity in the time it took for him to visit the respective sites.

Secretary Buttigieg explained his decision to visit the active response site, deviating from the traditional approach followed by previous transportation secretaries. 

He acknowledged the significance of being present in such situations, mainly due to the prevalence of politicization and misinformation that the people of East Palestine had to contend with. 

In the current landscape, he emphasized the importance of presence to ensure a clear understanding of the ongoing events, effective coordination, and collaborative efforts.

Secretary Buttigieg further emphasized his appreciation for the ongoing dialogue he maintains with individuals in East Palestine. 

Likewise, he valued the opportunity to personally be present at the site while coordinating and communicating with all stakeholders involved in the response, utilizing both on-site interactions and remote conversations over the phone.

The incident occurred when a tanker truck caught fire beneath an overpass, collapsing a section of the highway onto the truck.

Secretary Buttigieg has faced criticism for handling various issues, including the East Palestine chemical spill, the grounding of domestic flights by the FAA (the largest since the September 11 terrorist attacks), and significant supply chain delays.

A reporter confronted Secretary Buttigieg in Washington, D.C., several weeks after the train derailment incident in East Palestine, where he had yet to visit. 

During the confrontation, Secretary Buttigieg stated that he was taking “personal time” and could not provide a message to the affected residents at that time.

The reporter, simply carrying out their professional duty, asked Secretary Buttigieg about the crisis in East Palestine. 

Secretary Buttigieg did not appreciate the question and responded by taking a photograph of the reporter. The reporter was surprised by the Secretary’s reaction, emphasizing that they were just fulfilling their job responsibilities.