(NewsGlobal.com)- In early February, a Northfolk Southern train containing vinyl chloride derailed and caught fire in East Palestine, Ohio causing the hazardous chemical to spill onto the ground and sending plumes of black smoke into the air.
In the days following the rail disaster, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was strangely quiet, prompting many lawmakers to demand answers from the silent secretary, including Minnesota Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
In a tweet on Monday, Congresswoman Omar said Congress should investigate the derailment which she said would have a “significant negative impact” on the local residents. She called for “direct action” from Buttigieg “to address this tragedy.”
On Tuesday’s “Fox & Friends,” the hosts blasted the absent Buttigieg who by that point had only responded to the tragedy on Twitter.
Co-host Brian Kilmeade pointed out that residents of East Palestine have seen nothing of Pete Buttigieg since the derailment happened, adding that Buttigieg’s silence better not be because Ohio is a Republican state.
Co-host Steve Doocy noted that Congresswoman Omar is right that the accident would negatively impact the people of East Palestine for years.
During a town hall in East Palestine on Wednesday, angry residents left no doubt about how they felt about the absent Transportation Secretary.
When one resident asked East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway where Buttigieg was, the mayor admitted that he didn’t know, telling the man, “your guess is as good as mine.” Conaway also told the residents that he hadn’t heard from anyone in the Biden administration.
On Wednesday, Republican Senators Marco Rubio and J.D. Vance wrote a letter to Buttigieg asking for information on his department’s oversight of the rail system.
In the letter, the senators accuse Buttigieg of downplaying or ignoring “crisis after crisis” while prioritizing issues that are irrelevant to the country’s transportation system.