Marco Rubio wants Pete Buttigieg to resign over response to Ohio train disaster

The train that derailed carried toxic chemicals; officials say the area is safe now.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is calling on President Joe Biden to request the “immediate resignation” of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, saying that he has “downplayed crisis after crisis while prioritizing topics of little relevance to our nation’s transportation system.”

Most immediately, Rubio cited Buttigieg’s response to the Feb. 3 derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals which subsequently caught fire in East Palestine, Ohio.

Two days after the incident, residents near the site were ordered to evacuate following the controlled release of a toxic chemical to prevent an explosion, CNN has reported. Officials now say the area is safe but have urged people to drink bottled water as a precaution.

Buttigieg has not appeared in the area since the incident occurred. He said on Tuesday his Department was “constrained by law on some areas of rail regulation,” referring to a braking rule that the Donald Trump administration withdrew in 2018.

Other federal agencies including the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating, while Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan was on the ground in East Palestine on Thursday, vowing the Biden administration would “get to the bottom” of the incident, NBC News is reporting.

Rubio and Republican U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio wrote to Buttigieg on Wednesday, requesting information about how the Department of Transportation oversees the nation’s freight system.

In his letter calling for Biden to fire Buttigieg, Rubio said that, while the Transportation Secretary has acknowledged the situation in East Palestine, “he continues to deflect any accountability for the safety of our nation’s rail system,” adding, “This is part of a two-year-long pattern.”

Buttigieg and the Department of Transportation have been under fire in recent months, such as when a Federal Aviation Authority computer meltdown forced a nearly two-hour nationwide shutdown of domestic air travel a few weeks following widespread flight cancellations by Southwest Airlines.

Republicans have also criticized Buttigieg for flying too frequently on private airplanes.

bill filed last month by Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace of South Carolina would require Buttigieg and his team to fly commercial only. Mace alleged in a press release that Buttigieg had flown private approximately 20 times in the last six months of 2022.

“For two years, the transparency and accountability that you promised to obsessively uphold during your inauguration has been nowhere to be found,” Rubio writes in his letter to President Biden. “The incompetence and failure within your administration cannot continue to be ignored when Americans health and safety are at risk.”


Mitch Perry reporting via Florida Phoenix.

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  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    February 17, 2023 at 10:26 am

    Marco Rubio should resign over his non-response to Florida’s home insurance disaster. The entire Florida GOP should.

    But why do actual work to help Floridians who are struggling when there’s a Culture War to fight with Disney?

  • TJC

    February 17, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Marco Rubio has no answers to our nation’s problems, and his attempts to portray himself as a leader — by demanding others be held accountable — are feeble and pitiful. He shouts, looks around to see if anyone is listening, then he pouts. Some leader.

  • That’s a no

    February 17, 2023 at 11:26 am

    Why? It’s not his fault.

    And just hit a town full of republicans. No big loss lol

    • Amanda Casaugh

      February 19, 2023 at 5:32 pm

      Why not? Maybe because Donald J TRUMP deregulated, reversed, and canceled the REQUIREMENTS OBAMA PUT INTO PLACE that would protect against this EXACT DISASTER.
      It was just one of over 100 regulations designed to protect the public from toxic polluters and lax safety standards in big oil, gas, and chemical industries. Trump is a wh*re and a criminal.
      “ 93. Reversed an Obama-era rule that required braking system upgrades for “high hazard” trains hauling flammable liquids like oil and ethanol.
      Transportation Department
      94. Changed safety rules to allow for rail transport of highly flammable liquefied natural gas.
      Transportation Department |
      95. Rolled back most of the requirements of a 2017 rule aimed at improving safety at sites that use hazardous chemicals that was instituted after a chemical plant exploded in Texas.
      How quickly we forget. But sure, let the b@st*rd come to Ohio so y’all can keep Making America Greedy As F**k Again.

  • Joe Corsin

    February 17, 2023 at 1:50 pm

    Deregulate and misgovern…then blame the Dems for the fallout and not cleaning up the mess fast enough. This is a 20 year trend that will continue so long as stupid people believe in right wing propaganda.

  • Andrew T. Linko

    February 17, 2023 at 2:53 pm

    Marco Polo, yes it’s a game and you play games well in the media. Why can’t you remember your favorite person, whose place in Mar-A-Lago you were frequently visiting REPEALED the regulation requiring (ECP) electronically controlled pneumatic brakes on all trains carrying hazardous or toxic loads. The regulation was implemented during the Obama administration, but childish actions of pouting, calling names, like you’re doing publicly, is why the now TWO train wrecks. Funny how you and your Mar-A-Lago liar can’t remember the actions you celebrated 6 years ago, but you both say our current President should resign because of his age?

Comments are closed.


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