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GOP Rep. Collins floats ousting Buttigieg over train derailment response

"They should have shown up immediately," the freshman lawmaker said of the Transportation Department.

Published: February 28, 2023 4:22pm

Updated: February 28, 2023 4:48pm

Georgia Republican Rep. Mike Collins on Tuesday floated impeaching Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg over his handling of a major train derailment in Ohio that saw toxic materials leak from several railcars.

Collins spoke to Fox News about myriad problems facing the nation's travel infrastructure such as mass flight cancellations and train derailments, attributing many of the recent debacles to the federal agency.

"The solution is… you get rid of Pete Buttigieg and get somebody in there that knows what they're doing and what they're talking about," the Republican asserted, per Fox News.

Collins, in particular, seized on the DOT's sluggish response to the Feb. 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train near East Palestine, Ohio, that saw toxic materials leak from the train and forced authorities to implement a controlled release and burn of the hazardous substances to avert a major explosion. The residents were forced to evacuate and concerns linger over the long-term impacts of the spill.

"They should have shown up immediately," the freshman lawmaker said of the Transportation Department, per Fox News. "[A]ny time we have a problem, as far as small businesses are concerned, you get right to the scene and see exactly what's going on, so you can assess the problem... figure out what the solution is."

Collins conceded that federal officials eventually arrived on the scene, but excoriated Buttigieg himself for his apparent reluctance to visit the site, saying "he just was bent on not going."

"That's just another, in my opinion, another clear example of this agency and the fact that they have got their sights set on stuff other than trying to improve the infrastructure of this country. And that's the woke culture that this guy is promoting," he continued.

Buttigieg himself did not visit the town until last week, roughly three weeks after the initial derailment. He was preceded by former President Donald Trump who encouraged President Joe Biden to follow suit.

Collins' call echoes concerns of other lawmakers, including some Democrats, who have demanded Buttigieg account for his handling of the Ohio debacle.

His remarks further come amid revelations that the Department of Transportation's Inspector General will investigate Buttigieg for his use of federal aircraft, at the behest of Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

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

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