Trump visits East Palestine, CNN airs town hall

Transportation secretary to arrive Thursday in Ohio village for first time after toxic derailment.

Former President Donald Trump spoke Wednesday in East Palestine, the site of the train derailment nearly three weeks ago caused a massive fire with thick billowing smoke, evacuation orders, an explosion scare and toxic chemical concerns.

Trump donated thousands of bottles of water during his visit to the site of the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern derailment.

“You are not forgotten. We stand with you. We pray with you,” Trump said during his speech.

CNN aired a town hall Wednesday night. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine participated in the hourlong special hosted by anchor Jake Tapper.

“Please join us to hear directly from (DeWine), Ohio residents and experts as the East Palestine community grapples with the aftermath of the recent train derailment,” Tapper tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

The train of about 150 cars included 20 carrying hazardous materials. A broken axle caused 38 cars to derail, and a fire ensued that damaged another 12 cars, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg plans to make his first visit Thursday to East Palestine, where he will meet with community members and receive an update from the NTSB, which on Thursday is expected to release its initial findings.

Trump and Republicans have attacked the Biden administration and Buttigieg for its response to the disaster.

The White House is firing back, blaming the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress for undoing rail safety measures enacted during the Obama administration that were designed to avoid such disasters.