Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary, tried to spin bipartisan criticisms of his job performance Wednesday by suggesting Congress should have played an important role in preventing disasters such as the one still unfolding in East Palestine (Ohio).
Buttigieg has been under fire for days since the Ohio train derailment — which resulted in the release of toxic chemicals and forced a number of citizens to evacuate their homes — and has faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for his slow response to the disaster.
Buttigieg responded to the criticism after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) voiced his agreement with someone who normally would be his political polar opposite — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) — and said that Buttigieg owed the American people a response to what was happening in Ohio.
Totally agree. https://t.co/HVQVLVA4g5
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 14, 2023
Buttigieg replied with a snarky comment on the fact that both parties had finally agreed on something. He suggested that they should all come together to do something about rail safety.
“Glad to see newfound bipartisan agreement here. We could start by discussing immediate steps Congress could take to address rail safety & reduce constraints on USDOT in this area. Give us a call, we can do some good work,” He tweeted.
It is great to see bipartisan cooperation. It would be a good idea to discuss the immediate steps Congress could take in order to improve rail safety and decrease constraints on USDOT. Give us a shout, we can do great work. https://t.co/aqepKENjZz
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 15, 2023
But the critics weren’t buying Buttigieg’s deflection, and continued to criticize his failure to address the Ohio disaster.
“You willfully dishonest ghoul. Congress HAS addressed rail safety,” One user Responded. “They passed legislation in November of 2021 to the tune of billions of dollars over 5 years. You are GROSSLY inept for this job, obviously, and you’re a disgrace to the state of Indiana.”
She also shared footage of a town hall from East Palestine, Ohio, asking Buttigieg why he — and the company responsible for the train — had failed to be there to answer the people’s questions.
“What about these people who want answers Pete? Can they call you? You, nor Norfolk Southern could be bothered to show up and answer their questions because you were scared. How do you think they feel? Man up and take some responsibility for once,” She tweeted.
What about those people who want to know Pete? They can call you. Norfolk Southern and you could not both be bothered by them to come up and answer their questions, because you were afraid. What do you think they feel about this? Take responsibility and be responsible. pic.twitter.com/hifYqvaoCQ
— Literally Heather (@Shouse34) February 16, 2023
“Ilhan Omar: We need Congressional inquiry and direct action from @PeteButtigieg to address this tragedy. Ted Cruz: Fully agree. Pete Buttigieg: Good idea, I plan to directly act on this tragedy by sitting around and waiting for you to call me,” Another .
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