EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Former President Donald Trump arrived in East Palestine, Ohio on Wednesday. During his visit, he pledged support for those impacted by a Feb. 3 train derailment.

“19 days ago, tragedy struck this wonderful village and rocked the lives of people throughout this area, along with beyond this area” said the former president.

What You Need To Know

  • Former president Donald Trump toured East Palestine Wednesday afternoon

  • Trump also brought thousands of bottles of water for the residents

  • Trump gave a press briefing and then headed to McDonalds, where he purchased meals for the East Palestine fire department

Trump took a tour of a river that is still being treated with filtration machines. He then headed to the fire department for a press briefing, claiming his decision to come here is what sparked FEMA to send a response team.

“When I announced that I was coming, [FEMA] changed their tune” said Trump. “It was an amazing phenomena, the mayor and I were discussing that.” 

Along with a tour, the former president also brought with him thousands of bottles of water for the residents of East Palestine. Some residents say they hope this tragedy doesn’t turn into a political game. 

“I hope [Donald Trump is] not going to make it all political, but either way it benefits us” said East Palestine resident Charisse Munyon. 

Hundreds of supporters lined the streets, many still expressing concern for things like water, air and soil.

“Obviously we want to be safe, not everybody has a million pounds of toxic chemicals dumped in their back yard. We did. We want our kids to grow up not having cancer, we want our kids to grow up having good air, that’s our main concern” said village resident and business owner Michael McKim. 

Senator JD Vance also traveled with the former president, expressing concerns over how Norfolk Southern is handling the cleanup.

“They threw the railroad tracks basically the next day over when they should have been cleaning that site. And I do worry that a decision was made that in order to have quick rail traffic, we were going to let this community be contaminated more than it needed to be” said Vance.