During his train wreck, water-distribution tour of East Palestine, OH, Trump said he was not responsible for what happened during his administration. When a reporter asked him about his “pulling back rail regulations," Trump replied, “I had nothing to do with it.” Not much of a profile in courage. Apparently, during Trump’s one term, the buck stopped somewhere else.
Trump continued by attacking Pete Buttigieg. He blamed the Transport Secretary for America’s “third world nation” airports. It was his usual fact-free shtick. The Biden administration has provided $15 billion for airport repair and upgrades in its Infrastructure bill. During Trump's time, infrastructure got “a week” but no funding. The man is still incapable of shame.
In response, Buttigieg challenged Trump to do the right thing. During his trip to the crash site on Thursday, a reporter asked Pete:
“You mentioned the national political figures decided to get involved, it sounds like you’re talking about Trump. And then you said, ‘I need your help.’ How can he help?”
“Well, one thing he could do is express support for reversing the deregulation that happened on his watch. I heard him say he had ‘nothing to do with it,’ even though it was in his administration. So if he had nothing to do with it, and they did it in his administration against his will, maybe he could come out and say that, that he supports us moving in a different direction.”
“Against his will?” You can hear the steel scraping the ribs as Pete twists the knife. The acid drips as he says, “even though it was in his administration.” The icing is the “aw shucks” placid demeanor Pete assumes with well-modulated good humor. That’s how you do “patronizing.”
Buttigieg had more:
“We’re not afraid to own our policies when it comes to raising the bar on regulation. And I’ve got to think that him indicating that this is something that everybody, no matter how much you disagree on politics and presidential campaigns, can get behind — higher fines, tougher regulations on safety, Congress on tying our hands on breaking rules, all the other things that go with it that’d be a nice thing for him to do.”
Here Pete's genius is to tell the audience that Trump supports something so beneficial no one could find objection to it. Trump is on the horns of a dilemma. He can either agree with a course of action promoted by a Democrat. Or he can slam Buttigieg's words and, in doing so, make himself look beholden to special interests.
Trump will brush it off. The MAGAs will not understand the subtext. But independents and the “please make Trump go away” Republicans will admire the verbal knockdown.
Now that Buttigieg has visited the crash site, Fox News has had to move on from its “where is Secretary Pete?” hysteria. And it landed on Buttigieg’s footwear. Still smarting from Ron DeSantis’s white boot follies after Hurricane Ian, Fox snarked that Buttigieg was wearing “dress boots.”
Under the banner headline “Buttigieg mocked for appearing to wear dress boots while on the ground in East Palestine, Ohio,” reporter Houston Keene wrote,
"Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg appeared to wear dress boots while surveying the train derailment on the ground in East Palestine, Ohio.”
And in case you missed the boots, two sentences later he adds: “The secretary appeared to be wearing leather dress boots, instead of heavy-duty shoes like work boots, while surveying damage in the city.”
As a slam, this is second-rate stuff. First, who is doing the mocking? The author and his water cooler buddies? If these mockers are real, they are no one anyone cares about. Second, has Houston looked at the pictures in his article? Those are not “dress boots” — look at the thickness of the sole. They are also well-worn — something Pete uses regularly and has not bought or borrowed for the occasion.
Third, what did Houston think Pete was there for — to swing a shovel? Why does he need work boots?
I am not familiar with the work of this journalist. However, if this is his usual output, he will not have a distinguished career. He should certainly stay away from fashion pieces. Hopefully, he is young and can aspire to better things.
On the other hand, Trump is not young and has long since lost the ability to be anything more than a pyrite grifter.