As Train Derailments and Tensions with China Unfold, Experts See Crisis in U.S. Leadership

As yet another massive train derailment unfolded in Nebraska on Tuesday in the wake of the controversial federal response to the derailment disaster that has engulfed East Palestine, Ohio, experts are seeing a connection between the responses to both East Palestine and the recent aggressive actions of the Chinese regime: failed and incompetent American leadership.

“It’s a disaster,” said Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.” “There again [in East Palestine], you have an administration that just checks a box. They don’t — [as] I always say — put the best players in, coach.”

Burchett went on to give a blunt assessment of the job performance of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who formerly served as the mayor of South Bend, Ind. Buttigieg has received strong criticism for his department’s slow response to the East Palestine train derailment, which exposed the town to dangerous toxic chemicals and caused mass evacuations.

“This guy is a disaster. We’ve seen this time and time again. I was a county mayor. You know, I did crazy things like pay down debt and get the county out of everybody’s business and was able to keep taxes [low] and actually give pay raises. So I know what it takes to be a mayor, but I’m not qualified to be secretary of transportation. And there’s no way in the world this guy is. … He’s a charade. I met him. I know him. I guess I like him as a person, but it’s just all a charade.”

President Biden is also facing growing backlash over his decision to make a surprise trip to Ukraine and announce additional expansive aid to the country while still having not visited East Palestine or offered federal aid to the town.

“You have a president who sent [almost] $100 billion to Ukraine and he won’t even pay a visit to his own people,” Burchett observed. “These globalists have got to stop. … And blaming it on the Trump administration when they’ve had two years of untethered liberal Marxist policies and spending is falling on deaf ears.”

Burchett further noted that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on which he sits, will be conducting oversight on the government response to the East Palestine disaster.

“Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said every committee will have an oversight facet to it, which is what Congress really originally set out to do. And … that’s not what [was done] under Democrat leadership. But now it has changed since January. As they say, there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Kevin McCarthy — and he is keeping his word.”

Meanwhile, concerns over increasingly close ties between China and Russia are growing. Shortly after Biden’s visit to Ukraine, China’s top foreign affairs official visited Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, where the two countries announced “new levels of co-operation.” Experts fear that China senses weakness in U.S. leadership and is preparing to give Russia military aid.

Burchett, who also sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, underscored fears about the weak position the U.S. finds itself in in the wake of the spy balloon incident.

“This deal with Ukraine, the Chinese are watching. I had breakfast with [former] Secretary Pompeo … and he said, ‘Look, Tim, they know how many paperclips are going into your building.’ The Chinese are taking notes of all of this. They’re watching our supply chain. They’re watching the political response to this thing. This balloon issue — the first one was a spy balloon. And now [China is] watching us shoot down party balloons with $435,000 Sidewinder missiles.”

Burchett also noted the highly controversial advice of General Mark Milley, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to not shoot down China’s spy balloon until it had crossed the entire continental U.S. in early February. Biden took Milley’s advice and waited until the balloon floated off the coast of South Carolina before shooting it down.

“This is the general that, if you remember in the final days of the Trump administration, was in secret negotiations with China — our enemy,” Burchett observed. “We have a president of the United States whose cognitive level has dropped considerably.”

Burchett went on to give straightforward advice to conservatives in the days ahead. “I tell people, my friends in the church, [who] say, ‘What can we do?’ I say, ‘Pray for your country and vote.’ Because 20 million so-called evangelical Christians stayed home in these last elections. And that’s how Joe Biden is president of the United States.”

Perkins concurred. “We’ve got to flood the polls at every election with our folks and overwhelm any shenanigans that they’re engaged in.”


Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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