Last Updated on February 15, 2023

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is facing criticism over his lack of comment and action on the catastrophic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. While speaking at an event Monday, Buttigieg instead opted to lament the number of white people holding infrastructure jobs in urban environments.

During the National Association of Counties Conference, Buttigieg urged attendees to build workforces that “reflect” the community.

“We have heard way too many stories from generations past of infrastructure where you got a neighborhood, often a neighborhood of color, that finally sees the project come to them, but everyone in the hard hats on that project, doing the good paying jobs, don’t look like they came from anywhere near the neighborhood,” Buttigieg said.

The former Democrat presidential candidate went on to state that “tearing down those barriers” could shrink wealth gaps in the country.

Buttigieg has faced significant criticism over his lack of attention paid to the catastrophic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Outside of a single tweet from Buttigieg, the Biden Administration has not commented on the derailment and subsequent toxic spill.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) accused Buttigieg of “turning his back” on Ohio by ignoring the disaster. “This is a relatively frequent occurrence,” Turner told Fox Business on Tuesday. “Not to this scale, but throughout the Midwest, as we have lots of trains that are traversing with hazardous materials that go through towns, sometimes cities, and could impact the health of the people that are there.”

“The Secretary of Transportation, Buttigieg ought to be on this. He’s been ignoring this,” Turner added.

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