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Donald Trump says officials ‘indifferent’ after Ohio train derailment

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    10 hours ago

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Former US President Donald Trump has accused federal officials of “indifference” to an Ohio town that is reeling from a toxic train derailment.

On a visit to East Palestine, Mr Trump claimed his presence had spurred the Biden administration to devote more resources to this month’s crash.

Local residents have expressed frustration at what they saw as a lack of answers from officials.


Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is expected to visit on Thursday.

Mr Trump met East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway during Wednesday’s visit. He was joined by his son, Donald Trump Jr, Ohio Republican Senator JD Vance and congressman Bill Johnson.

The former president donated Trump-branded water bottles and cleaning supplies. Speaking at an event at a local fire station, Mr Trump criticised the federal government’s “betrayal” of the town.

“We’re standing in America… your goodness and perseverance are met with indifference and betrayal in some cases,” he said.

“When I announced that I was coming, they changed their tune. It was an amazing phenomenon.”

Mr Trump’s short speech also included a thinly veiled jab at US President Joe Biden, saying that he hopes he has “money left over” after a visit to Ukraine earlier this week.

“What this community needs now are not excuses… but answers and results,” Mr Trump said, adding that the town’s inhabitants “won’t be forgotten”.

The White House and its allies pre-emptively hit back at Mr Trump before his visit.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates said former members of the Trump administration “owe East Palestine an apology for selling them out to rail industry lobbyists” and loosening regulations.

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When asked if regulatory changes during his administration could have contributed to the 3 February derailment, Mr Trump told reporters he “had nothing to do with it”.

Several hundreds local residents gathered to catch a glimpse of the former president. Some could be heard chanting “Trump” and “let’s go Brandon” – an insult towards Mr Biden.

Others jostled to shake his hand or take pictures before the event.

Columbiana County – which includes East Palestine – voted 71.5% in Mr Trump’s favour in the 2020 presidential election.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Buttigieg announced he would visit the derailment site on Thursday, becoming the second cabinet-level official to do so after Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan.

Mr Buttigieg is expected to meet local residents and investigators looking into what caused the crash.

In an interview with CBS on Tuesday, Mr Buttigieg conceded he “could have spoken sooner” about the derailment and said it was “a lesson learned for me”.

The National Transportation Safety Board is due to release its preliminary report on the derailment on Thursday.

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