IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

With Ohio derailment blame game, Trump and Pence are back in sync

The former president and VP have been at odds in very public ways in recent years, but they’re both aligned in deflecting about the Ohio train disaster.


Donald Trump and Mike Pence have been at odds in some very public ways in recent years. 

Need I remind you about the whole “Hang Mike Pence” thing?

But the band is back together. Or, at least, they’re playing in unison. Reiders, the MAGA misinformation machine is live and in effect like it’s 2019!

Wednesday found the former president and his vice president in sync yet again as they sought to deflect blame for the recent train derailment in eastern Ohio that led to the release of tons of toxic chemicals. 

Federal officials have yet to determine a cause for the derailment, but a lack of facts hasn’t stopped Republicans from trying to pin the issue on the Biden administration. But as many, including the White House, have noted: Republicans under Trump deregulated the rail industry to the delight of big companies like Norfolk Southern, the rail operator responsible for the toxic disaster in East Palestine. 

Trump’s trip to Palestine on Wednesday only highlighted his environmental and regulatory carelessness as president, as my MSNBC colleague Steve Benen explained yesterday. This was clearest when the former president tried to brush past a question about whether his administration’s deregulatory agenda bore any responsibility for the Ohio derailment. 

“I had nothing to do with it,” Trump claimed. 

Ah, the Shaggy “It wasn’t me” defense. 

Pence was even more awkward with his deflection. 

When a Fox News host asked him about the Trump White House being blamed, Pence immediately pivoted to a false claim that the Biden administration had retracted statements about China floating surveillance balloons into U.S. airspace during the Trump administration. 

The claim was meant to paint the Biden administration as untrustworthy. And you can hear Pence awkwardly try to laugh through it. But, to be crystal clear here: The Biden administration didn’t retract its statements about China spying on the U.S. during the Trump administration.