Brunswick Beacon, 03.09.23
Federal assistance arrived two hours after Norfolk Southern’s train derailed. Asked 11 days later “Are you satisfied?” with President Biden’s response, Gov. DeWine (R-OH) answered: “the president called me and said, ‘Anything you need.’ I have not called him back. We will not hesitate to do that if we’re seeing a problem, but I’m not seeing it.”
PolitiFact reports that 5,103 train derailments under Trump caused 232 injuries and three deaths. Fox’s Bret Baier reports that neither Trump nor his Transportation Secretary ever visited one. Still, because shamelessness is his superpower, Trump went to Ohio and attacked Biden for visiting a war zone and defending Democracy instead of doing something Trump never did. Fox’s Brit Hume called Trump out: “The federal government preeminently has responsibility for our national defense. When the president is doing that job, he's doing the key and foremost task of the presidency.”
Trump makes everything about him, so of course he handed out Trump-branded water, then bragged about the “ratings” for his stunt, proving Hume’s point that such visits are “essentially, political gestures.”
Tacky and pathetic, but not a crime. More troubling is the fact that Trump’s repeal of train safety regulations made this derailment worse. In 2014, President Obama made Electronically Controlled Pneumatic brakes (ECP) mandatory on trains carrying explosive chemicals. After railroad and chemical companies lobbied him, Trump repealed ECP regulations in 2018. Steven Ditmeyer, former top official at the Federal Railroad Administration, said: "Would ECP brakes have reduced the severity of this accident? Yes."
Trump also ended regular railroad safety audits and scrapped Obama’s minimum crew size requirement. Norfolk Southern’s nearly two-mile long train had two locomotives, 149 railcars and just three crew members, including a trainee! National Transportation Safety Board pronounced the derailment, caused by an undetected wheel bearing failure, “100% preventable.”
As Fox’s Brian Kilmeade says, “maybe the regulation needs to be there.”