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Biden has no plans to visit East Palestine, White House confirms

Jean-Pierre on Thursday defended Biden's absence from the scene.

February 23, 2023 3:17pm

Updated: February 23, 2023 3:50pm

President Joe Biden has no plans to visit the town of East Palestine, Ohio, in the near future, the White House confirmed on Thursday.

"I don't have anything to share on a presidential visit, not at this time, or anything to announce," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. "But it does matter that the president put forth a multi-agency kind of reaction to this, taking it seriously."

After a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials derailed near the town earlier this month and forced the town to evacuate, authorities began a controlled release of the toxic material in the rail cars to prevent an explosion.

Biden administration officials and the president himself have attracted considerable scrutiny for their seemingly sluggish response to the crisis. Calls for President Biden to visit the town have gone unanswered, with Biden instead opting for a diplomatic visit to Ukraine.

Former President Donald Trump's appearance in the town this week has drawn further criticisms of the administration. The former commander-in-chief visited the derailment and met with local leaders, before purchasing McDonald's meals for many of the personnel involved in the clean-up and relief efforts.

Jean-Pierre on Thursday defended Biden's absence from the scene, asserting that "[s]howing up is having the Environmental Protection administer on the ground, showing up is having the Transportation secretary on the ground... all these guys are on the ground at the direction of this president."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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