As the one-year anniversary of the East Palestine train derailment draws near, there has still not been a presidential visit to the area.

The topic of a visit by President Biden was brought up Friday during a White House press briefing by AP News reporter Aamer Madhani.

Madhani asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre when the president would be making the trip to Ohio.

"The year anniversary of the East Palestine derailment is, I think, about a week away now. When is he going to go?" Madhani asked. "Is this becoming more of a hindrance to the President and a sign of, almost, insensitivity by not going?"

Jean-Pierre said she didn't have anything to announce at this time.

Jean Pierre's full statement is below:

"I'm not sure it's a - it's a sign - I wouldn't say it's a sign of insensitivity," Jean-Pierre said. "Let's be clear here. From the moment - the day of the derailment that we saw in Eas- - East Palestine and what the community had to deal with, within hours - within hours, we've had federal assistance, federal employees on the ground -- within hours. And that was because of this President - right? - because he understood what that community would be going through."

"So, he was - he was ver- - we were proactive. And we got folks there within hours. We're talking about EPA, Department of Transportation, talking about FEMA, HHS, CDC. And we've been on the ground - folks have been on the ground sin- - since that day - since that day. And this is a whole-of-government approach -- whole-of-government approach.

"So - and the President is going to continue to ask Congress to act. Obviously, there's a rail safety act that needs to be strengthened. And the President is going to continue to do that."

"As it relates to the President's trip, if -- obviously, don't have anything to announce at this time. When it is - when it is appropriate or helps - help the community for him to be there, obviously, he will be there. He's done that."

"It doesn't matter if it's in a rural area, urban area, suburban area, red state, blue state, the President has always been there to - to as- - to - to assist and be there for the community. So, when it is helpful, he certainly will do that."

"But I want to - you know, you asked the question about insensitivity. But the President did do exactly what the community wanted him to do - that was right for the community - was give assistance within hours of the derailment."

"And we're holding - let's not forget, we're going to hold accountable Norfolk Southern, like we are going to make sure that they - they actually, you know, stay to account what they caused on the ground with this derailment."


President Biden spoke about a visit to East Palestine on September 2, 2023, during a news conference in Live Oak, Florida - an area that had been damaged by Hurricane Idalia. During that news conference, a reporter asked the President about a visit to the derailment area, to which he said, "I haven't had the occasion to go to East Palestine."

Biden said at the time that he figured he would go to East Palestine that week but was reminded that he had to go around the world.

Following that news conference, Jean-Pierre said on September 6, 2023, that President Biden would go travel to the area. "The President will go to East Palestine. He promised that he would, and he will," Jean-Pierre stated.