'Not the way to win votes': Heavy traffic from Biden's Virginia Beach visit angers residents

Biden's motorcade caused gridlock on I-264 in Virginia Beach, as some residents questioned why he went there as opposed to East Palestine, Ohio.

Published: February 28, 2023 10:03pm

Updated: March 1, 2023 12:55am

Heavy traffic caused by President Biden's visit to Virginia Beach on Tuesday frustrated many local residents.

Virginia Beach emerged as a national trending topic on Twitter as a result of Biden's visit to the area.

Social media users posted video showing bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway. According to local media reports, road closures along Interstate 264 were the main cause of the traffic standstill.

"Biden just lost the votes of everyone stuck in traffic in Virginia Beach today," wrote Twitter user Brian Kirwin.

"Good lord!" wrote Twitter user Jenn Lovelace. "Biden came to Virginia Beach and they shut down all of 264. It's not even rush hour yet."

"Blocking off the entirety of Virginia Beach during afternoon rush is not the way to win votes," tweeted another user.

Some voters questioned why he went there as opposed to East Palestine, Ohio.

"So Biden can go to Virginia Beach but not East Palestine?" wrote one Twitter user.

Joe BIden should have been in East Palestine in the aftermath of the train derailment "instead of shutting down Virginia Beach," said another user, adding: "Also, I hope today's disaster was a lesson to our city leaders who insist on making us into a big city when we're really just a small military town." 

Biden told reporters on Friday that he doesn't have plans to visit East Palestine at this time. 

On Sunday, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin urged Biden to visit Ohio instead of Virginia.

"Well, Joe Biden's been to Ukraine, now he's coming to Virginia," Youngkin said. "He has yet to go to Ohio. And he wants to talk about healthcare, why doesn't he go someplace where people actually have real health concerns that are driving them to worry about not just the day-to-day impacts of this horrific train crash, but the long term impacts with cancer threats, etc."

EPA Administrator Michael Regan was in East Palestine on Tuesday, where local reporters asked him about the environmental impacts of the derailment, particularly the damage to the water supply.

A journalist asked Regan if he would allow his children "anywhere close" to the streams near the derailment, which occurred at the beginning of the month.

"I would not," he responded. 

Biden's speech in Virginia Beach was focused on making healthcare more affordable. He attacked "MAGA Republicans" for seeking to repeal Obamacare and claimed that the GOP wants to cut Social Security and Medicare. 

Virginia Republican Rep. Jen Kiggans criticized Biden for coming to Virginia Beach to "pit Republicans and Democrats against each other on the issue of healthcare."

"This issue should never be used as a partisan publicity stunt," she said.

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