Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg faced intense criticism Wednesday after he took the opportunity of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, to tout his department's "work on rail safety."
Buttigieg tried to lay out the steps his agency is taking to address the issue in a Twitter thread Tuesday evening while deferring blame for an ongoing disaster that happened under his watch.
"In the wake of the East Palestine derailment and its impact on hundreds of residents, we’re seeing lots of newfound or renewed (and welcome) interest in our work on rail safety, so I wanted to share more about what we’ve been doing in this area," Buttigieg tweeted at the beginning of the long thread.
"We are making historic investments on rail safety through funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, work that accelerates this year and continue in the years to come," he continued before listing billions in grants and proposed rules and regulations.
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After waiting 10 days to address the disaster at all, many thought Buttigieg's tweets were tone-deaf and too little too late.
"YOU’RE JUST NOW TALKING ABOUT IT??" actor and director Stephen Ford reacted.
"This is an absolutely insane thing to tweet," said Jack Kennedy of Barstool Sports.
Talk show host Mike North wrote, "He did command a 60 bus fleet in south bend .. what a horrid hire this goof is . as weak a person as you could have.."
Fox News contributor Joe Concha tweeted, "The Transportation Secretary appears to be tweeting his way through the East Palestine disaster ten days late instead of, you know... going there."
New Hampshire blogger Kimberly Morin tweeted, "How about, instead of tweeting bullsh*t no one cares about, you haul your pathetic arse down there and HELP THOSE PEOPLE."
Buttigieg also punted blame in one tweet, saying the DOT is "constrained" by Trump administration action.
"We’re constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation (like the braking rule withdrawn by the Trump administration in 2018 because of a law passed by Congress in 2015), but we are using the powers we do have to keep people safe," he wrote, which got more incredulous responses.
"Is there nothing they won't blame Trump for?" asked Libby Emmons, editor-in-chief of The Post Millenial.
"This is the state of the Biden administration: Blame Trump for something that happened exclusively under their watch. Pete Buttigieg is a complete embarrassment and would have been fired months ago if he performed this poorly in the private sector," Canary CEO Dan K. Eberhart tweeted.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted, "It's 2023 @PeteButtigieg. Stop blaming Trump."
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To some, this was entirely predictable. Less than 24 hours before, conservative commentator Tim Young had asked, "How long until leftists blame the train derailments on Trump?"
Buttigieg has also faced criticism for his handling of various air traffic control issues that have emerged in recent months. Prior to joining the Biden administration, the highest government position he held was as mayor of South Bend, Indiana.