Buttigieg knocks ‘East Coast elite’ over criticism of East Palestine train derailment response
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg fired back at Republican criticism over his response to the derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio, blasting his critics as “card-carrying members of the East Coast elite.”
“It’s really rich to see some of these folks — the former president, these Fox hosts — who are literally lifelong card-carrying members of the East Coast elite, whose top economic policy priority has always been tax cuts for the wealthy, and who wouldn’t know their way around a T.J. Maxx if their life depended on it, to be presenting themselves as if they genuinely care about the forgotten middle of the country,” Buttigieg said in an interview with CNN.
Buttigieg has come under fire for a series of transportation woes, most recently the derailment in Ohio, which has caused mounting environmental and public health problems.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) became one of the latest Republicans to pile on Buttigieg late last week, arguing the Cabinet official was “not ready for the responsibility he has.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has called for Buttigieg’s resignation.
Buttigieg reflected on mistakes he made after the derailment in the interview with CNN, saying he had not predicted the political fallout from the incident. He said he should have gone to East Palestine sooner — he visited a day after former President Trump made a trip and used the opportunity to blast Democrats.
But Buttigieg still countered Republican attacks, taking aim at Trump in particular. He said the former president’s visit to East Palestine was “maddening,” pointing the finger at the Trump administration for efforts to deregulate the rail industry.
“To see someone who did a lot [to] try to gut not just rail safety regulations, but the EPA, which is the number one thing standing between that community and a total loss of accountability for Norfolk Southern and then show up giving out bottled water and campaign swag?” Buttigieg said.
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