Fox News host Bret Baier stunned social media users after he defended Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg by pointing out former Republican President Donald Trump's Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao never visited towns train derailments, even ones with fatalies.
Baier's remarks came as Republicans continue to try to pin blame on Buttigieg for the East Palestine train derailment.
The chemical spill and subsequent controlled burn from the disaster prompted residents within a 1-mile radius of the accident to be evacuated and kicked off emergency responses from teams in Ohio and West Virginia as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Baier said it was “fair” and “accurate" to point out how "exceedingly rare" it is "for a Transportation Secretary to visit the site of a train derailment, especially one that resulted in no fatalities."
You can hear what Baier said in the video below.
Referencing an article in Politico which noted that Buttigieg would be visiting East Palestine this week, Baier said:
“There is this political moment and there is a lot of criticism of the Transportation Secretary. It is exceedingly rare for a transportation secretary to visit the site of a train derailment, especially one that resulted in no fatalities.’” ...
“There were train derailments in the Trump administration that actually had fatalities that didn’t have a visit by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao."
“But this seems to have some momentum about the administration and its reaction to this derailment in particular.”
Baier's remarks surprised many who had also come to Buttigieg's defense.
Baier's defense of Buttigieg came mere weeks after he came under fire for suggesting Buttigieg has been failing to perform his job duties during a recent interview.
Last month, Baier was criticized after he suggested Buttigieg should not have taken his husband—educator, author and activist Chasten Buttigieg—as part of an official delegation to the Netherlands for the Fifth Invictus Games.
Baier questioned Buttigieg about his travel schedule after a calendar obtained by the nonpartisan Americans for Public Trust (APT) and shared with Fox News Digital showed he'd traveled from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to Rotterdam, Netherlands via "MilAir Flight" in April 2022 before returning two days later on military aircraft.
Buttigieg said Baier put “quite a spin” on the trip to the games—an international multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans—which often are visited by United States government officials and their respective spouses.
Baier's remarks came as Fox News ramped up its critical coverage of Buttigieg in the wake of fallout from recent systemic failures that left travelers stranded and contributed to a crisis of confidence nationwide in the airline industry.