Buttigieg, Florida Republicans clash over Ohio derailment response
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg asked the Florida senators to work with him
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg clashed with Florida Republicans on Twitter on Tuesday following the toxic train derailment in Ohio.
He fired back at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who tweeted that Buttigieg should be fired following his response to the disaster.
"First @SecretaryPete was m.i.a. on the derailment. Then he lies to media claiming my 2021 letter calling for more track inspections was a letter calling for deregulation. He is an incompetent who is focused solely on his fantasies about his political future [and] needs to be fired," Rubio wrote.
Buttigieg replied that "the facts don't lie."
BUTTIGIEG CALLS FOR SAFETY REFORMS AFTER OHIO TRAIN DERAILMENT
"The 2021 letter you signed was obviously drafted by railroad industry lobbyists. It supports waivers that would reduce visual track inspections. Now: will you vote to help us toughen rail safety accountability and fines, or not?" he asked the senator. Buttigieg also shared a link of steps Congress can take to help, as well as what the Department of Transportation is doing and demanding that rail companies do.
"If you're serious, I'll work with you on this," the secretary said.
Shortly after Rubio's tweet, Sen. Rick Scott also took a shot at Buttigieg.
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"Hey, @SecretaryPete: the right time for folks in East Palestine is now. When leaders show up, things get done — enough with the excuses. Show up, do your job and stop playing politics with every crisis you find," he said.
"During the initial response phase, I've followed the norm of staying out of the way of the independent NTSB," Buttigieg said in a quote tweet. "Now that we're into the policy phase, I'll be visiting – and I need your help. Will you work with us to toughen accountability standards on freight railroads?"
Buttigieg also copy-pasted the same tweet from his exchange with Rubio with the Transportation Department's call for safety reforms.
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Following the derailment, the Department of Transportation has noted that investigators from the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration were on the ground within hours of the train derailment near East Palestine and that the agencies were supporting the investigation being led by the National Transportation Safety Board.