The East Palestine train derailment was a topic of conversation for President Biden this afternoon during a stop in Live Oak, Florida.

Biden was touring Florida and meeting with residents in the areas affected by Hurricane Idalia before speaking with new media.

During the news conference, a reporter asked why he hadn't made a trip to East Palestine following the toxic train derailment seven months ago.

President Biden told reporters, "I haven't had the occasion to go to East Palestine. There is a lot going on here and I haven't been able to break. I figured I would go to East Palestine this week, but I was then reminded that I have to go around the world. I'm going from Washington to India to Vietnam and so it is going to be a while. But, we are making sure that East Palestine has what they need materially in order to deal with the problems."

Ohio Senator J.D. Vance posted on X about the President's comments:


Rep. Bill Johnson also reposted a clip of President Biden's answer on X with the caption "Biden: I haven't had the occasion to go to East Palestine. There's a lot going on. It's been 8 months."

The toxic train derailment in East Palestine occurred on February 3, almost seven months to the date of Saturday's news conference. 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine asked the White House for a disaster declaration on July 3, officially asking Biden to "issue a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration relating to the Norfolk Southern train derailment and release of hazardous chemicals that occurred in East Palestine."

A Major Presidential Disaster Declaration would allow Governor DeWine to keep requesting aid from FEMA after voluntary contributions from Norfolk Southern end.

An AP report from August 11 said the Biden administration could launch a formal evaluation of the risks posed by vinyl chloride in the future.