Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has refused to talk to reporters in East Palestine, Ohio, with his press secretary calling them “aggressive” for daring to ask questions on camera.
Buttigieg, who boasted earlier this week that he “dealt with a lot of disasters” during his time as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, finally arrived in East Palestine on Thursday, one day after 45th President Donald Trump had arrived and dealt out food, clean water, and other supplies to residents.
The Transportation Secretary was confronted by Kalen D’Almedia and Savanah Hernandez of TPUSA’s ‘Frontlines’ news show. “The American public doesn’t seem to be very confident in your ability to do your job,” D’Almeida asked Buttigieg. “Will you be resigning any time soon?”
“I’m not here for politics. I’m here to make sure the community can get what they need,” Buttigieg responded, claiming that “at this time,” he wanted to be speaking “to the community leaders,” rather than reporters.
Hernandez proceeded to jump in, and quiz Buttigieg on the fact that it took him two and a half weeks to actually turn up to East Palestine. The Transportation Secretary proceeded to complete ignore the question, and walk away, but not before his press secretary jumped into handle the situation.
The woman, who identified herself as Buttigieg’s “press person,” repeatedly refused to answer questions while on camera, demanding that the reporters turn their cameras off. “I would like to be able [to answer questions] without the cameras on,” she said. “I think that is a little bit aggressive.”
An unidentified bearded man in a blue jacket also asked Hernandez and D’Almedia to put their cameras away, before calling over a police officer and complaining that they were refusing to comply. The officer informed the man that Buttigieg’s “press person” was free to “walk away” at any time.
The independent reporter later asked Buttigieg about his first statement regarding East Palestine, in which he seemed to suggest the disaster was receiving too much media attention, as more than 1,000 trains derail each year.
During his Wednesday visit to East Palestine, Trump took a swipe at both “Boot-edge-edge” and Joe Biden, telling them to “get over here” and help out themselves. Biden is currently touring around Eastern Europe, having spent days visiting President Volodomyr Zelensky in Ukraine.
When confronted, Buttigieg refused to answer whether he thought it was a mistake for Biden to have gone to Ukraine before visiting East Palestine.
This news and commentary by Jack Hadfield originally appeared on Valiant News.