Buttigieg’s Derailment: NTSB Exposes East Palestine Claim as “Misinformation”

Jonathon Turley | Feb. 28, 2023

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has been repeatedly criticized for transportation problems, including the holiday pile up at our ports that slowed delivery of goods in December. He was also criticized for his response to the recent airport shutdown. I have not joined in that criticism because I am not sure that he has direct responsibility for some of these problems. However, Buttigieg recently raised a legal claim to blame the Trump Administration for the train disaster in East Palestine, Ohio. The claim was not only manifestly false but Buttigieg knew or should have known it was false. The implications are deeply disturbing. When confronted with a disaster, Buttigieg not only made a false claim but attempted to weaponize a tragedy against political opponents. That is a serious problem for a public figure and worthy of condemnation.

Buttigieg was criticized for his delay in responding publicly to the Ohio disaster and his even longer delay in going to the site. Again, while a politically tone deaf, I was not one of those critics. It is possible to respond to a tragedy without being at the scene. However, the Administration (including the President) were clearly losing ground in its response with many noting the absence of both the President and Transportation Secretary in Ohio after the wreck.

When Buttigieg finally made it to the scene, significant time had passed and many of the details were known publicly on the cause. Buttigieg presumably had even earlier and better information, including the statements of the train crew on the cause.

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