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‘SLAP IN THE FACE’ Ohio Congressman Says, Fire Buttigieg

When Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) got word that President Biden was on a tour of Ukraine instead of East Palestine, he nearly blew a gasket.

“I think that’s reflective of the attitude of this administration,” Johnson said during an appearance on the Todd Starnes Radio Show. “The secretary of transportation has not been here. The president has not been here. They’re finding anything and everything else to do except come to our little town devastated by this train crash.”

Johnson represents East Palestine in Congress. He called the administration’s attitude a “slap in the face.”

And he said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg needs to be fired.

“If he had any personal integrity at all, he’d go ahead and resign,” Johnson told Starnes. “He’s about as qualified to be transportation secretary as Yogi Berra would have been to coach an NFL football team. Yogi played baseball. But, you know, you know, you either do the job, or you don’t do the job, but you don’t sit back and make excuses about why you’re not going to do the job.”

Listen to the full interview below:

The following is a rush transcript from the Todd Starnes Show, which airs daily from noon – 3:00 p.m. EST.

TODD STARNES: [00:40:08] I want to go to the Patriot Mobile Newsmaker Line. We are honored to have you with us from the sixth Congressional district. And by the way, that includes East Palestine, our friend, Congressman Bill Johnson from Ohio. Congressman, thank you for joining us today. [00:40:23][15.9]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:40:24] Well, good. Good afternoon. It is afternoon now, isn’t it? My days are running together. [00:40:29][4.3]

Is it a slap in the face for the citizens of East Palestine, Ohio, for President Biden to visit Ukraine before visiting Ohio?

TODD STARNES: [00:40:29] I can confirm it is afternoon, Congressman. So they’re not serving breakfast at Chick-Fil-A. So it’s lunchtime now. So. Congressman, I want to start by getting your reaction to the news that President Biden is spending President’s Day in Ukraine. I think that it’s interesting that he chose to go to Ukraine, and he still hasn’t gone to East Palestine yet. [00:40:54][24.7]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:40:55] Yeah, you know, I think that’s reflective of the attitude of this administration. The secretary of transportation has not been here. The president has not been here. They’re finding anything and everything else to do except come to our little town devastated by this train crash. [00:41:17][21.9]

TODD STARNES: [00:41:18] Is it is this a slap in the face from the administration? [00:41:20][2.2]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:41:22] Well, I think so. I mean, I don’t. I don’t see how people in our region could see it any other way. I mean, if this had happened in New York, L.A., Chicago, or New Orleans, you know, some place, big blue city, they’d be all over it. [00:41:39][17.2]

TODD STARNES: [00:41:40] Congressman, I’m curious to know the current state of affairs in East Palestine. What are you hearing from local residents? Is the water safe to drink, or are people getting sick? What’s going on over there? [00:41:52][11.3]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:41:53] Well, it depends on where you live. If you’re on city water, if you’re on village water, or municipal water, that water is safe. The EPA has tested it and retested it. The state EPA has done the same. The local authorities have validated that the tests are being done. They routinely test their water anyway. And oh, by the way, they don’t get their water source from any of the water that has been contaminated. So the bottom line is the village water is safe to drink. If you have a private well, then you need to have that well tested. And so far, none of the wells that have been tested, and there have been a lot of them, none of the wells that have been tested have shown any contamination with the chemicals. So we are making progress. It’s going to be a long haul. But there’s progress being made. [00:42:50][56.8]

TODD STARNES: [00:42:50] What do you make of the reports of the livestock that were dropping dead birds and fish? Were you able to verify any of that information? [00:42:59][9.0]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:43:01] You know, part of that is true, Todd. Part of it is can’t verify. For example, the fish there were about 3500 fish in a stream. That water that chemicals got into that stream and then got into some aquatic habitat. About 3500 fish. And I think some salamanders and frogs were associated with that, too. Some of these chemicals had a deadly toxicity level to aquatic life but did not affect mammals. Okay. Land walking, bearing oxygen, breathing. Critters like us, however, have not been able to verify the farm animal issue. We’ve had veterinarians from the state and the local health department there. So far, no one has brought in any animals that have been injured or that are showing signs of being sick. Now, that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. If they are, you know, those folks need to bring those animals in and let the veterinarians take a look at them. And let’s operate from a basis of fact and science, not, you know, not speculation. [00:44:24][82.6]

TODD STARNES: [00:44:25] And what about humans? There have been reports in the national media of people suffering headaches and rashes. Were you able to verify any of that information? [00:44:33][8.2]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:44:34] I didn’t see any rashes. I had people tell me about them. But I think the good news is that’s why the governor, with the help of HHS and the local health department, there will be a clinic live tomorrow that people can go to with those specific complaints. They can see a health care provider. There will be toxicologists there. They can look at any rashes and identify what they might be. So help is coming tomorrow from that perspective now. [00:45:09][34.9]

TODD STARNES: [00:45:10] And my apologies, but because we have lots of questions and you’re in the know, it’s good for people to get the facts as opposed to the rumors and whatever that might be out there. There had been a report from a local TV and some other media that might these my ID biometric devices were given out a week before the train derailment. Have you heard anything about this? Any report? Can you verify if this was real or not? [00:45:43][32.8]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:45:44] You sprang one on me that I have never heard. I’ve been there for a week and never heard that. Well, this is a first. [00:45:52][7.7]

TODD STARNES: [00:45:52] This is from the Gateway Pundit, among others. But they’re saying that people were urged to sign up for my ID to receive a new biometric tracking device that provides first responders updates about health conditions during a major disaster or emergency. [00:46:07][14.9]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:46:08] So I don’t know where that came from. I’ll be back up there tomorrow. I will ask about it. I had to come home last night to get a fresh start on clothing and take care of some personal matters. But I’ll be back up there tomorrow and ask about that. But I haven’t heard that one. [00:46:27][19.2]

TODD STARNES: [00:46:27] Well, no, I appreciate that. Don’t you know, again, you know, separating fact from fiction, and I know that people are just frustrated with the government. What’s the deal here with the White House denying disaster relief? Is there any update on that and any help from the government for these folks? [00:46:43][15.5]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:46:44] Well, when when when the governor requested disaster relief from the president, it was determined that Ohio did not qualify under the rules because there was no personal property law. My guess is the way that they’re saying it. And so they were denied FEMA assistance. I immediately wrote a letter and complained about that. And so I’m proud to say now that FEMA is on site. Now they are not there in a check writing mode. They’re there in a hey; we want to help those that are doing the work. The EPA, the federal EPA, the state EPA, Norfolk Southern, the railroad, and the people that are doing the work to mitigate this disaster. We’re here to connect the dots. It’s like FEMA’s saying we’re here to help them because, you know, we do this all over the country. FEMA does. And so that that’s what they’re there for. So has there been a national or a declaration of emergency? No. But, you know, FEMA, FEMA, HHS, and CDC are now in the game late, but they’re in the game. [00:48:10][85.9]

TODD STARNES: [00:48:10] Well, one final question for you, Congressman. Does Pete Buttigieg need to be fired? [00:48:15][4.7]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:48:16] Yes, he does. If he had any personal integrity at all, he’d go ahead and resign. You know, he’s about as qualified to be transportation secretary as Yogi Berra would have been to coach an NFL football team. Yogi played baseball. But, you know, you know, you either do the job, or you don’t do the job, but you don’t sit back and make excuses about why you’re not going to do the job. [00:48:46][30.1]

TODD STARNES: [00:48:47] All right. Well, Congressman, we’re going to leave it there. Really appreciate your great work and praying for all the good people in East Palestine. [00:48:53][6.0]

BILL JOHNSON: [00:48:54] All right. Well, thank you very much, Todd. [00:48:55][1.2]

TODD STARNES: [00:48:56] All right, Congressman Bill Johnson, ladies, and gentlemen, with some pretty, pretty direct words towards people to judge, the transportation secretary says he needs to be fired. If he had any integrity, he would have already resigned. He also says that Biden’s visit to Ukraine instead of East Palestine is a slap in the face to his constituents. And, of course, Bill Johnson represents East Palestine. What a mess that is. What a mess. [00:49:26][30.1]

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