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Fox News
Fox News
2 Sep 2023


President Joe Biden cited his hectic schedule when he was asked why he had not yet visited East Palestine, Ohio, on Saturday, months after the town was devastated by a train derailment that polluted the environment and contaminated water.

The president's Live Oak, Florida, presser came in the wake of Hurricane Idalia, which caused up to $20 billion worth of damage in the Southeastern U.S., according to FOX Weather. Biden was speaking about the federal government's efforts to provide assistance to impacted residents when he was asked about the small Ohio town.

"Well, I haven't had the occasion to go to East Palestine," Biden began. "There's a lot going on here, and I just haven't been able to break."

"I was thinking whether I'd go to East Palestine this week, but I was reminded I've got to go literally around the world," the president continued. "I'm going from Washington to India to Vietnam."

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Joe Biden with sunglasses

U.S. President Joe Biden walks to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, Saturday, for a scheduled visit to survey hurricane damage in Florida. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Biden then reassured the crowd that the federal government will provide East Palestine with necessary resources in the wake of the disaster. 

"And so it's going to be a while. But we're making sure that East Palestine has what they need materially in order to deal with their problems," he concluded.

East Palestine was devastated by a derailed freight train on Feb. 3, which spewed toxic chemicals and caused health and environmental worries for locals. Though officials reassured the public that the town's air and water were safe, residents claimed to suffer from nausea, dizziness and headaches in the days after the disaster.

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An aerial view of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio

An undated aerial view of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. (NTSB/File)

Biden promised to visit East Palestine "at some point" when asked about it March 2. According to Senator J.D. Vance, cleanup efforts are still ongoing, with "thousands of tons" of local soil still containing chemicals.

During an August flight to Milwaukee, Biden nearly flew over East Palestine, which invited criticism from Ohio Republicans.

"One hundred and sixty-six days ago, Joe Biden promised he would visit East Palestine. He has failed to keep that promise," Senator J.D. Vance said in a previous statement. "Not only has Joe Biden refused to visit East Palestine, but he has also refused to grant critical assistance to the recovery effort."

Ohio EPA and EPA contractors collect soil and air samples from the East Palestine derailment site

Federal and state EPA contractors collect soil and air samples from the derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio, March 9, 2023. (Michael Swensen/Getty Images/File)

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House for a statement, but has not heard back.

Fox News Digital's Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.