A journalist on Friday asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre what President Joe Biden's new "environmental justice" executive order will do for the devastated town of East Palestine, Ohio, prompting Jean-Pierre to ramble on for almost two minutes without answering.
"That's a very good question," Jean-Pierre said. "Look, I think what's important to note about this environmental justice [executive order] is the president's continued support in his climate agenda, his ambitious climate agenda. He has the most ambitious climate agenda that [sic] any other president in history, and one way that you can look at this today is that he's continuing to deliver on that ambitious agenda, and he's not done yet, right, this is a continuing, a continuation of what he's promised the American people."
Jean-Pierre carried on in the same vein for almost another minute.
The press secretary was announcing Biden's decision to grade all government agencies on their "efforts to advance environmental justice" through a scorecard. The initiative will likely be of little assistance to East Palestine, which is still suffering from a Feb. 3 train derailment that contaminated the area with toxic chemicals. The Biden administration received widespread criticism for its handling of the crisis, with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg taking three weeks before visiting East Palestine. The president himself still has never shown up in the Ohio town.
"This is just delivering … on how he sees moving forward with dealing with climate change," Jean-Pierre said. "That is gonna be our focus."
While Biden's Environmental Protection Agency has declared East Palestine safe, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers investigating the area reported falling sick with headaches and coughing, the Washington Free Beacon reported this month. Town residents have reported similar symptoms.