Monday, February 20, 2023

Trump Takes Credit for Getting FEMA to Go to East Palestine


AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The environmental disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, was bizarrely ignored by the Biden administration for weeks. Gov. Mike DeWine reportedly had repeatedly requested assistance from FEMA, but those requests were denied.

However, on Friday, Donald Trump announced his intention to visit East Palestine the following week, and within two hours, it was announced that FEMA would, in fact, come to assist the people of East Palestine.

“FEMA and the State of Ohio have been in constant contact regarding emergency operations in East Palestine. U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA have been working together since day one,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and FEMA regional administrator Thomas Sivak said in a joint statement. “Tomorrow, FEMA will supplement federal efforts by deploying a Senior Response Official along with a Regional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to support ongoing operations, including incident coordination and ongoing assessments of potential long-term recovery needs.”

It was hard to ignore the timing, and while some might argue the Biden administration’s change of heart was a coincidence, Donald Trump is taking credit for it.

“Biden and FEMA said they would not be sending federal aid to East Palestine. As soon as I announced that I’m going, he announced a team will go,” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social. “Hopefully he will also be there. This is good news because we got them to ‘move.’ The people of East Palestine need help. I’ll see you on Wednesday!”

Does Trump have a point? Of course, he does. He’s most likely right, as support from FEMA had been refused just a day earlier. “The DeWine Administration has been in daily contact with FEMA to discuss the need for federal support, however, FEMA continues to tell Governor DeWine that Ohio is not eligible for assistance at this time,” DeWine’s office said in a statement Thursday.

So, we can either believe that the Biden administration independently flip-flopped on Friday because they came to their senses, or the change was entirely driven by a desire not to be embarrassed by Donald Trump.

I’d put all my money on the latter.