Here’s What You Missed on Twitter This Week, Vol. 6

February 26, 2023

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg finally made it to East Palestine, Ohio, where he complained about Donald Trump. And President Joe Biden failed upward—literally—during his trip to Ukraine and Poland. 

Here’s what you missed on Twitter this week:

1. It took Buttigieg three weeks to go to East Palestine, but he claims the administration has been there the whole time.

The Biden administration insists that they've been on the ground since the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, even though the president has still not visited the village, and Buttigieg didn't make an appearance for three weeks.

"That’s why we’ve been here from the first hours of the incident, as an administration," Buttigieg said in response to a reporter asking if East Palestine would be safe "when all the news crews’ cameras have gone and the politicians have left."

"That’s why our interest, both in what happened here in East Palestine and in keeping our railroads safe, doesn’t go away when some other hot news story comes into the headlines."

2. Buttigieg did finally make it to East Palestine …

His explanation for his absence wasn’t exactly convincing. During a press conference, a reporter asked the transportation secretary if it was a "mistake" not to visit the site of the toxic train derailment sooner. 

"What I tried to do was balance two things—my desire to be involved and engaged and on the ground, which is how I am generally wired to act, and my desire to follow the norm of transportation secretaries," Buttigieg told reporters. 

He said the "norm" was to let the National Transportation Safety Board "lead the initial stages of the public facing work."

3. … but Biden did not. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted that residents of East Palestine should feel "at ease" because Biden has taken the train derailment "very seriously." 

Reporters in the briefing room pressed Jean-Pierre for answers on Biden’s plans to visit the village. She told them she "did not have anything to read out" about a presidential trip, and one reporter asked if "it is something that’s even under consideration."

"What folks should understand, and folks I think should feel at ease, is that the president has taken this very seriously," she said, once again claiming the administration had been on the ground "hours after the derailment occurred."

4. The president found the time to visit Ukraine, and the administration has trouble explaining why.

East Palestine mayor Trent Conaway called Biden’s decision to visit Ukraine before East Palestine "a slap in the face."

"Does the president have any reaction to those comments?" A reporter asked during Thursday’s press briefing. Jean-Pierre repeated the claim that the administration was "on the ground very early on." 

"We believe that we have had an all-of-government, all-hands approach to this, not just with the agencies, but also with the different teams here in the White House," she said, naming several federal agencies that allegedly responded "because of this president’s leadership."

5. The president still struggles with stairs.

Boarding Air Force One once again proved difficult for the 80-year-old president. A viral video showed Biden tripping up the stairs, calling to mind his infamous fall, which has been immortalized by the Washington Free Beacon’s "Biden's Senior Moments" series

Jean-Pierre has told critics claiming Biden is too old to be president to "watch him." Maybe she should reconsider her recommendation.