EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Last week, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy took to Twitter to issue a plea for people to stop spreading misinformation regarding the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
Standing at a podium in East Palestine at a press briefing to discuss the initial findings of her agency's investigation into the derailment, Homendy issued a different plea, asking people to stop making the situation a political one.
"Enough with the politics on this," Homendy said in response to a question on Thursday. "Enough with the politics. I don't understand why this has gotten so political. This is a community that is suffering. This is not about politics. This is about addressing their needs, their concerns. That's what this should be about.
"What I care about is caring for them. What I care about is figuring out how this happened. And what I care about and what the NTSB cares about is getting to what would prevent this from reoccurring."
Homendy's comments come one day after former President Donald Trump, who has already announced his candidacy for the 2024 election, visited East Palestine, and on the same day that Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited the Columbiana County village. They also echoed sentiments shared by East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway earlier this week, who lamented what he believes to have become "a political pawn game."
The fallout from the Feb. 3 derailment, which resulted in a controlled release of the hazardous chemicals onboard, has continued to receive national attention in the weeks that have followed. In addition to announcing the initial findings of the NTSB's investigation on Thursday, Homendy revealed that her agency will hold a rare investigative field hearing later this spring.