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Trump Revels in the Reaction to East Palestine Trip

Newsweek 2/23/2023 Ewan Palmer
US Senator JD Vance (R-OH)(L) looks on as Former US President Donald Trump speaks at the East Palestine Fire Department in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 22, 2023. © REBECCA DROKE/AFP/Getty Images US Senator JD Vance (R-OH)(L) looks on as Former US President Donald Trump speaks at the East Palestine Fire Department in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 22, 2023.

Donald Trump spent several hours sharing clips and news articles on social media that praised his trip to Ohio to visit the scene of the recent train derailment.

The former president arrived in East Palestine on Wednesday to visit the area where 50 carriages of a Norfolk Southern train carrying harmful chemicals fell off the tracks on February 3.

Trump, who is running for president again in 2024, visited East Palestine before Joe Biden, with Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg not scheduled to arrive until Thursday. He has since documented his trip via posts on Truth Social.

Trump shared several conservative news articles that detailed how he brought with him to East Palestine gallons of "Trump Spring Water" for the community amid downplayed concerns the release of chemicals from the train derailment may have contaminated the local water supply. One of them was from Fox News' Sean Hannity's blog titled: "The Don Delivers!"

Video clips were also shared by Trump on Truth Social showing him meeting his supporters while walking through East Palestine, flanked by his son Donald Trump Jr. and Ohio Senator J.D. Vance, as well as his trip to a local McDonald's to buy food for first responders.

The Republican also posted a video that contrasted him arriving in East Palestine with footage of Biden boarding Air Force One in Warsaw, Poland. The president was criticized by a number of conservative figures for embarking on the international trip coinciding with the one year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine before visiting the scene of the train derailment.

Elsewhere, Trump shared screen grabs of tweets from Vance and Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene that praised his visit on Truth Social.

"President Trump visits the people of East Palestine, Ohio and brings them water & supplies while Joe Biden only cares about pushing more war and U.S. money in Ukraine," Greene tweeted.

"Thank you President Trump for continuing to show what America First looks like."

Vance, who was endorsed by Trump in the midterms, added: "Was great to have the president in East Palestine today. We need to keep working to get the residents the help they need. Kudos to the mayor, the fire chief, and other local officials for performing well under impossible conditions."

During a speech at the East Palestine Fire Department, Trump criticized the federal response to the derailment, which caused the evacuation of the village and fears the harmful chemicals may have caused pollution.

"In too many cases, your goodness and perseverance were met with indifference and betrayal," Trump said.

Christopher Devine, an associate professor of political science at the University of Dayton, previously suggested Trump's visit to Ohio could help him boost what critics are already suggesting is a stagnating 2024 campaign.

""Trump's handling of this situation could influence whether voters—particularly, wary Republicans—see him as a serious contender for the presidency again, in 2024, or someone who is just seeking publicity wherever he can find it," Devine told Newsweek.

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