Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has been caught up in controversy after dodging questions from a Daily Caller News Foundation reporter about the recent crisis in East Palestine, Ohio. Buttigieg, who claimed to be taking “personal time,” refused to engage in a conversation with the reporter but strangely requested to take her picture.
Reporter Jennie Taer approached Buttigieg while he was walking outside in Washington, D.C., and asked for his thoughts on the toxic train derailment that had leaked hazardous chemicals into the air, affecting the people of East Palestine. However, Buttigieg dismissed her inquiries and suggested she refer to the interviews he had given earlier that day.
Despite the Secretary of Transportation’s resistance, Taer persisted, asking if Buttigieg had a message for the people of East Palestine. Buttigieg repeated his earlier response and declined to share his message with her, citing his need for personal time.
The interaction has raised questions about Buttigieg’s handling of the crisis in East Palestine, with some critics suggesting that his response was dismissive and insensitive to the plight of the affected community.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has stirred controversy after declining to answer a reporter’s questions about the recent toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. When pressed by Daily Caller News Foundation journalist Jennie Taer, Buttigieg refused to give any additional comments, stating that he had given “about a dozen interviews” that day and suggesting that she speak with his press office to schedule an interview.
“You don’t have a message for them?” she said.
Taer persisted, asking Buttigieg if he had a message for the people of East Palestine who were suffering as a result of the crisis. In response, Buttigieg declined to comment, citing that he was taking some “personal time”. However, what followed left many questioning his motives.
As Taer inquired whether Buttigieg planned to visit the Ohio town, he reached for his cellphone and asked if he could take a photo of her. The video recording ends before the reporter’s response, leaving the context of the exchange unclear.
Taer posted the video online, and it quickly went viral, accumulating over 1.6 million views overnight. Critics have described Buttigieg’s behavior as bizarre, with media critic Steve Krakauer suggesting that it indicates the current administration’s contempt for journalists.
It took officials three days to conduct a controlled burn of the toxic materials in the train cars after the derailment occurred on Feb. 3. The decision was made to prevent a potential explosion, as the chemicals posed a serious threat to the surrounding area.
Toxic black smoke hung heavy over East Palestine, Ohio, after officials conducted a controlled burn of the toxins from a derailed freight train, which leaked hazardous chemicals like vinyl chloride, hydrogen chloride, and phosgene into the air. Despite the disastrous situation, the Biden administration and Secretary Buttigieg’s management have come under intense scrutiny and criticism for their handling of the crisis.
As both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris remained preoccupied in Europe, the absence of leadership from the Transportation Secretary has not gone unnoticed. Meanwhile, Senator Eric Schmitt of Missouri went on “Sunday Morning Futures” to blast the Biden administration and Buttigieg’s specific failure to address the Ohio environmental disaster.