Ever since the toxic train derailment in Ohio, Pete Buttigieg has been in the hot seat. But his days in politics over after this.
Because Pete Buttigieg said this one sentence that ended his career on the spot.
If you didn’t know, a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio has led to literal tons of highly toxic vinyl chloride being flooded into the Ohio River.
Tons more have been burned off in a supposed “controlled burn” of the chemical used in PVC construction.
Locals have complained that their pets have gotten sick and even died from the fumes – signaling a canary in the coal mine phenomenon.
In the wake of this catastrophe, the Biden administration has played their cards close to the chest and refused to accept responsibility.
Specifically, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg deferred questions on the incident and made no plans to visit the affected area.
In fact, Donald Trump visited East Palestine before any major Biden administration official, buying the locals lunch on his own dime.
The day after, Buttigieg arrived to much less fanfare, and shot down his own career in just seven simple words.
First, his press assistant refused to be photographed as she evaded photographers, and then he made a huge language gaffe during his official news conference. If he was seeking to instill confidence and trust in a community that has been asking where the Biden administration has been since the train derailment-turned-toxic conflagration disturbed their way of life, he certainly fell short.
His moment of amnesia, where he had to find his words, is sure to be a clip that will be replayed many times. It is typical. That can happen to anyone. Buttigieg, on the other hand, is the transportation secretary on the ground responding to a railroad catastrophe.
What he said was, “Sorry, I lost my train of thought,” before regaining his footing.
Ooops…That's a huge PR fail! This really highlights the importance of media training before going on air.
"Sorry, I lost my train of thought." pic.twitter.com/mDiPtgt8wI
— Jeremy Knauff (@jeremyknauff) February 23, 2023
It was possibly the most toxic word you could utter on potentially toxic ground, but it wasn’t his only blunder for the day.
When Buttigieg arrived, he was mocked for his attire and decision to wear formal shoes rather than boots to the town:
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tours the Norfolk Southern derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio pic.twitter.com/Jaz4jHXmvf
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) February 23, 2023
Some would argue that’s a cheap shot that doesn’t necessarily reflect his true reaction. Optics matter, and in contrast to former President Donald J. Trump walking through the crowd, seeming in authority only the day before, the Biden administration had the worst conceivable look.
To make matters worse, Buttigieg’s press secretary, Kerry Arndt, provided cover for her boss as he avoided reporters in the early morning. Arndt, who is paid by US taxpayers to go on camera and speak to the media, declined to answer one reporter’s questions if they were taped.
What kind of press secretary is afraid to speak in front of the camera? It’s akin to “a kite afraid of heights.”
Buttigieg did hold a press conference, during which he made the aforementioned train-related gaffe, but he didn’t exactly make East Palestine look sympathetic. When asked why he had waited so long to come to town, he conceded that he had made a bad decision.
So why didn’t he do something different? It’s just not how he’s programmed to work, he explained.
“What I tried to do was balance two things: my desire to be involved and engaged and on the ground, which is how I’m generally wired to act, and my desire to follow the norm of transportation secretaries,” he explained.
"Was it a mistake not to come here sooner?"
BUTTIGIEG: "What I tried to do was balance two things: my desire to be involved and engaged and on the ground, which is how I'm generally wired to act, and my desire to follow the norm." 🤔 pic.twitter.com/KA0NPi72Oy
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 23, 2023
In an attempt to win political points, he also mispronounced the town’s name before correcting himself:
Pete Buttigieg mispronounces "East Palestine" while making a veiled challenge to Donald Trump after his visit to the Ohio town yesterday. pic.twitter.com/msohMstJXw
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 23, 2023
Stay tuned to DC Daily Journal.