ANKENY, Iowa — Ohio resident and newly announced Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy at a campaign stop in Iowa criticized President Joe Biden’s transportation chief for “leadership from behind.”
“It’s sort of a token gesture, sort of a cascade of tokenism,” Ramaswamy told The Iowa Star at a campaign stop Thursday in Ankeny.
Nearly three weeks after a toxic chemical-spewing train derailment, U.S. Secretary Pete Buttigieg finally toured the devastation left behind in East Palestine – a small town of about 5000.
“Pete Buttigieg was put in that position because of tokenism — tokenism to the endless alphabet soup of the LGBTQIA agenda or whatever,” the author of Woke Inc. added, referring to Buttigieg’s celebrated position by the identity politics left for being the first openly gay cabinet secretary confirmed by the U.S. Senate. His qualifications have long been questioned by critics, who see the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, as checking a political identity box for President Joe Biden and his woke administration.
Ramaswamy said the transportation secretary is now “tokenizing” the people of Ohio after his three weeks absence.
“In fact, he shows up on podcasts and interviews saying this is getting too much attention, until he realizes he lost that PR battle,” the wealthy entrepreneur said. “He waits until President Trump goes there and then shows up.”
The former president visited East Palestine on Wednesday, highlighting Americans he said who have been “forgotten” by the Biden administration. He handed out “Trump water” and pledged to hold the individuals responsible for the derailment and the politicians slow to respond accountable or the disaster.
“You are not forgotten. We stand with you. We pray for you. And we will stand with you and your fight to help ensure the accountability that you deserve,” Trump told a crowd of community members, first responders and reporters.
Buttigieg went on MSNBC’s Joy Reid’s “The ReidOut” Thursday to blame Trump, Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL., and other Republicans.
“…You take down regulations, you water down regulations, you weaken the power of the administration to deal with freight railroad companies, and then you show up wanting to be a great friend of the people who have been impacted by a rail disaster,” Buttigieg said of Trump’s visit.
Buttigieg made the trip after facing criticism from Republicans and Democrats for not doing enough for a city in crisis.
As Fox News reported, Buttigieg frequently dodged reporter questions while his press secretary attempted to control the media during his visit to East Palestine.
“That’s not leadership, that’s followership,” Ramaswamy said. “I think there’s a reason why people in Ohio don’t trust the people in charge. They’ve been given no reason to trust them.”
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Vivek Ramaswamy” by Vivek Ramaswamy and “DOT Sec Pete Buttigeig” by US Dept of Transportation.