‘Unbelievable’: Youngkin Takes Aim at Biden’s Choice Not to Visit Ohio Derailment Site

‘Unbelievable’: Youngkin Takes Aim at Biden’s Choice Not to Visit Ohio Derailment Site
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, here speaking in Smithfield, Va., in October 2022, is not on the commonwealth's 2023 ballot but his lobbying for a 15-week abortion ban puts him and abortion on voters' minds as they go to the polls in November in what is beiung called "the first election of 2024." (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Samantha Flom
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin expressed disbelief Sunday at President Joe Biden’s decision not to visit East Palestine, Ohio, where a Norfolk Southern train derailed on Feb. 3, leaking toxic chemicals into the ground, water, and air.
In a Feb. 26 appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Youngkin noted that, while the president visited Ukraine last week and plans to visit Virginia on Feb. 28 to discuss health care, he has yet to visit the beleaguered community of East Palestine.

“He wants to talk about health care?” the Republican governor asked. “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.

“This is a moment for leaders to lead, and Joe Biden needs to lead here,” he added. “And I just think it’s really, really unbelievable that he has yet to go to Ohio and support these people that need the help.”

In the wake of the derailment and subsequent “controlled burn” of the toxic chemicals the train was carrying, East Palestine residents have raised concerns about the quality of the air and drinking water in the area, reporting adverse health reactions such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, rashes, burning sensations, and difficulty breathing.

And despite federal and state authorities’ assurances that the air and public water are safe, researchers at Texas A&M University and Carnegie Mellon University reported on Feb. 24 that concentrations for nine out of the roughly 50 chemicals the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been monitoring for are above normal in East Palestine.

“If these levels continue, they may be of health concern,” researchers said, singling out acrolein.

Acrolein, a highly reactive and volatile compound used in the production of many commercial products, has been recognized as a chemical weapon since its use in World War I.

Nonetheless, when asked by reporters at the White House on Feb. 24 whether he had plans to visit East Palestine, Biden replied, “This time, I’m not.”

Instead, over the weekend, the president directed staff at the EPA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to go door-to-door throughout the Ohio village conducting outreach and health surveys.

“We [federal agencies] were there two hours after the train went down,” Biden told reporters. “I’ve spoken with every single major figure in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. So, the idea that we’re not engaged is simply not there.”

Adding that he was keeping “very close tabs” on the situation, Biden said, “We’re doing all we can.”

Samantha Flom is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering U.S. politics and news. A graduate of Syracuse University, she has a background in journalism and nonprofit communications. Contact her at [email protected].
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