Ohio Toxic Spill Victims Feel Abandoned By President Biden

Residents from the midwestern town of East Palestine in Ohio feel abandoned this December after President Joe Biden has failed to follow up in the eleven months following a toxic chemical spill in their local community.

“When Jessica Conard heard that President Joe Biden would visit her community in East Palestine, she felt a sense of relief,” says a New York Times report out Thursday. Eleven months ago, a Northern Suffolk Railway train carrying thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals derailed and spilled its contents into the local environment.

Although Biden has promised to visit East Palestine, and the White House insists that he still plans to, Conrad and other residents are still waiting on the president to keep his promise. “I feel like I don’t matter,” Conrad said. She has given up hope that he will ever visit, which is disappointing for the Ohio resident because she voted for Biden in 2020.

“I believe that it is political for him,” said Krissy Ferguson. She lives a mile away from where the train derailed. It happened in a county that former President Donald Trump won with more than 70% of the votes in 2020. Ferguson contends that Biden won’t visit the majority Republican area, “I believe that if we were in a blue area, he would have come, and that hurts.”

Although the president has not yet visited East Palestine, the former president — who will likely be running against him in 2024 — has paid residents a visit. Just days after the train accident, Trump arrived and told residents, “You are not forgotten.” He handed out “Make America Great Again” hats to the crowd.

“The president continues to oversee a robust recovery effort to support the people of East Palestine, and he will visit when it is most helpful for the community,” assured Jeremy M. Edwards, a White House spokesperson. The administration has defended Washington’s response, noting the federal government has deployed hundreds of staff to the county.

President Biden left the White House Wednesday — a day before the New York Times report on East Palestine — to take his 418th vacation day since assuming office. The president traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands to ring in the New Year. When asked about East Palestine in September, Biden said, “There is a lot going on here and I haven’t been able to break.”