Biden on not visiting East Palestine: 'I haven't had the occasion'

(WKBN) — After traveling to Florida on Saturday to survey the impact in the wake of Hurricane Idalia, President Joe Biden also took a moment to address the why he has yet to visit the village of East Palestine following the Feb. 3 train derailment.

Sept. 3 marks the seven-month anniversary of the train derailment that devastated not just the village’s environment but its residents’ livelihoods. It was several weeks after the derailment when Biden released a statement regarding the disaster via X — formerly Twitter.

On Saturday, the president went to Florida, surveying damage left in the wake of Hurricane Idalia. There, the press asked Biden why so much time has elapsed without a visit to the village of East Palestine.

“I haven’t had the occasion to go to East Palestine. There’s a lot going on here, and I just haven’t been able to break,” Biden said at a press conference in Florida.

Biden said he had been thinking of going to the village “this week,” but cited global travel arrangements as interfering with those plans.

“It’s going to be wild, but we’re making sure that East Palestine has what they need materially in order to deal with their problems,” Biden said.

Gov. Mike DeWine has asked multiple times that Biden grant assistance to the recovery effort in the form of a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration, of which DeWine asked for in July.

In July, there were calls from Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, to visit East Palestine. Ohio Sen. JD Vance has also joined in on the requests that the president visit.

Under Biden’s administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have visited the homes of those affected by the derailment, but the issue has since morphed into a political controversy as independent testing results become available. Biden on not visiting East Palestine: 'I haven't had the occasion'

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