The mayor of a small Ohio town where a train carrying hazardous materials derailed months ago has endorsed Donald Trump for president while taking a shot at President Joe Biden and his son for not visiting in the aftermath.
Speaking at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner, East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway took the stage alongside Eric Trump, Jr. to be recognized for his leadership during the tragic accident which blackened the skies and prompted mass evacuations.
In his remarks, Conaway swiped at the president for ignoring his constituents in their time of need:
“I would first like to thank Joe Biden and Hunter Biden – oh that’s right, they were busy,” said Conaway as the crowd laughed. Turning to the younger Trump, he added, “Your father and you really changed the way people saw us in town. People realized that we needed help. We’d been asking for help and we had the EPA there and other agencies, but we truly got help after you… without you this could have been a worse situation.”
BREAKING: @DonaldJTrumpJr just brought the Mayor of East Palestine, Trent Conaway, on stage at the packed Lincoln Day dinner in Columbiana, Ohio.
Mayor Conaway just called out Biden for not showing up and he also endorsed Trump for 2024!
Thank you for your leadership, Mayor! pic.twitter.com/qp5MnpBvnr
— Alex Bruesewitz 🇺🇸 (@alexbruesewitz) April 27, 2023
Despite pledging to visit East Palestine in the weeks after the derailment, President Biden never made good on his promise, instead sending Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. President Trump previously visited and handed out cases of water to affected residents. A survey by Newsweek found 66 percent of Americans thought Biden should have made the visit.
Congress held hearings following the derailment where lawmakers heard testimony that first responders were ill-equipped to deal with the hazardous waste being spilled. A member of the National Transportation Safety Board also called on senators to pass legislation to better inform communities when hazardous materials are being transported through their towns. The White House pushed back on lawmakers who claimed the president should have done more and personally visited, saying his administration coordinated a multi-agency response to the tragedy.