'We're not afraid to own our policies': Pete Buttigieg hits back at Donald Trump in Ohio train crash blame game

'We're not afraid to own our policies': Pete Buttigieg hits back at Donald Trump in Ohio train crash blame game
EAST PALESTINE, OH - FEBRUARY 23: U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg delivers remarks to the press as he visited the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment on February 23, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. On February 3rd, a Norfolk Southern Railways train carrying toxic chemicals derailed causing an environmental disaster. Thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate after the area was placed under a state of emergency and temporary evacuation orders. (Photo by Michael Swensen/Getty Images).

United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg traveled to the site of the February 3rd Norfolk Souther train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio on Thursday to assess the environmental damage and human health issues caused by the toxic chemicals that were released in the crash.

On Wednesday, former President Donald Trump staged a publicity tour of the small town where he accused President Joe Biden's administration – especially Buttigieg – of not doing enough to address the ecological disaster, which is being managed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the request of Republican Governor Mike DeWine. Norfolk Southern was ordered by the EPA on Tuesday to pay for the cleanup.

Buttigieg addressed Trump's critiques at a press conference.

READ MORE: Donald Trump Jr.: Pete Buttigieg only became transportation secretary because 'he's the gay guy'

“I’m here for the work, and not for the politics. You can sense when you talk to local leaders and local residents that they’re getting sick of the politics too and this national ideological layer that’s been added into this," Buttigieg said, per Forbes. But Buttigieg also fired back at Trump's claim that "he had nothing to do with" the accident amid uncertainty over whether Trump's railway safety regulatory rollbacks led to the mess.

"Yeah, you mentioned a national political figure who's decided to get involved? It sounds like you're talking about Trump and then you said, I need your help. How can he help?" a reporter asked Buttigieg.

"Well, one thing he could do is express support for reversing the deregulation that happened on his watch. I heard him say he had nothing to do with it, even though it was in his administration. So if he had nothing to do with it and they did it in his administration against his will, maybe he could come out and say that he supports us moving in a different direction," Buttigieg replied. "We're not afraid to own our policies when it comes to raising the bar on regulation. And I've gotta think that him indicating that this is something that everybody, no matter how much you disagree on politics and presidential campaigns, can get behind – higher fines, tougher regulations on safety, Congress untying our hands on breaking rules – all the other things that go with that."

Buttigieg then quipped that it would "be a nice thing for him to do."

READ MORE: Republicans don't care about human health regardless of who is to blame for the Ohio train disaster

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: Even Fox News admits Elaine Chao 'never' visited an accident as Buttigieg travels to East Palestine

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