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Trump Receives Presidential Welcome From East Palestine Officials, Renders Relief Amid Biden's Absence From Region

Trump: 'This is really America, right here. We are standing in America'

Former President Donald Trump has traveled to East Palestine to survey the damage and recovery efforts following the 38-car derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous material.

Officials from East Palestine welcomed the former president, with the Chief of the East Palestine Fire Department offering him a briefing one might expect President Joe Biden to receive were he not otherwise occupied in foreign territories. Following this meeting, the former president and members of the community delivered remarks to a small audience.

“We’re here today in East Palestine to show our love and support for our fellow Americans in this hour of need,” Trump said.

“Nineteen days ago, tragedy struck this wonderful village and rocked the lives throughout this area. Americans have been inspired by your strength and courage. We’ve seen the first responders and railroad workers serving bravely in the line of duty. We’ve seen citizens speaking up at the town halls and we’ve seen organizations such as the East Palestine Community Foundation rising to the occasion [to provide relief].”

“This is really America, right here. We are standing in America,” Trump said before criticizing the Biden administration’s failure to respond to the needs of the community. “Biden and FEMA said they would not send federal aid to East Palestine under any circumstance. I thought that was a strange statement, because I’ve been working with FEMA for a long time, four years, and they’ve been great with us.”

According to Trump, it was only after he announced his trip that the administration began to consider a relief response. “But they were doing nothing for you. They were intending to do nothing for you,” said Trump. “FEMA said, specifically, ‘This doesn’t meet the criteria,’ and that’s horrible, ‘and someone has to do something for these people,’ I said. Back when I announced that I was coming, they changed their tune. It was an amazing phenomenon. The mayor and I were discussing that. It was quite amazing what happened.”

Trump then declared that he “got them to move.”

“What this community needs now is not excuses…but answers and results. Norfolk Southern needs to fulfill its responsibilities and obligations,” Trump said while indicating that he believed that this time the rail operator would take responsibility.

As for the current president, Trump was less optimistic. “When Biden gets back from tour Ukraine, if he has some money left over,” Trump suggested they might then see him make an appearance. But the former president pledged to return if changes and relief were not adequately provided. “We will come back if necessary. If they don’t come back and give you the treatment that you need, we will be back. The Biden administration should ensure that every family has the option of moving until this thing is straightened out.”

“We’re bringing thousands of bottles of water — Trump Water, most of it — some of it we had to go to a much lesser quality water,” Trump said of the truckloads of water he personally provided to the community. “I think you’re going to have plenty of water for a long time,” he said.

“You are not forgotten. We stand with you. We pray for you. And we will stay with you in your fight to help answer the accountability you deserve.”

East Palestine Mayor Trent R. Conaway also addressed the community. “We as a community would like to thank President Trump for coming up here and shedding some light on the situation we are currently in,” Conaway said. “The firefighters save this city. If it wasn’t for them, this could have been a very different situation if we did not have such quality firefighters behind us. We are a small community we don’t want the media attention. We just want things to go back to the way it was. Together, we will make E.P. strong again. Thank you all.”

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