President Trump used the occasion of Monday’s fatal train crash in Washington state to tout his proposed infrastructure plan — one he has been promising since before the election but has yet to be announced.
“The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly,” wrote Trump via Twitter. “Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!”
Full coverage: Washington train derailment
After 10 minutes of criticisms that he had ignored those killed and injured in the crash in a rush to politicize the issue, Trump issued his condolences.
“My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington,” he added on Twitter. “Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White House.”
Trump also added condolences and endorsed a legislative fix prior to a national security address Monday afternoon.
“Let me begin by expressing our deepest sympathies and most heartfelt prayers to the victims of the train derailment in Washington state,” said Trump. We are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with local authorities. It is all the more reason why we must start immediately fixing the infrastructure of the United States.”
The White House had criticized Democrats for proposing policy solutions following mass shootings.
“I think we can have those policy conversations, but today is not the day,” said press secretary Sarah Sanders in the aftermath of the Las Vegas attack that left 59 dead. That position did not stop the president from politicizing an attack by an Islamic terrorist in New York the following month.
A proposal to create incentives for private investments of up to $1 trillion in infrastructure was a key part of Trump’s campaign platform.
“We’ve spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, as of two months ago,” said Trump in an interview with the New York Times in April. “Uh, $6 trillion. And yet we can’t fix our own roads and our own highways. And our bridges, which are, in many cases, in very bad shape. And we’re going to have a very big infrastructure plan. And bill. And it’s going to come soon. And I think we’ll have support from Democrats and Republicans.”
The “big infrastructure plan” has not yet materialized. Despite criticizing spending in the Middle East, the Trump administration has increased the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
The derailed train, en route from Seattle to Portland, Ore., carried approximately 78 passengers and five crew members, Amtrak said. Officials said there were at least six fatalities.
Several cars were also struck by the train, but no motorists were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board is launching an investigation. Monday was the first day of expanded service on the Amtrak Cascades line, and it was the train’s inaugural run between Seattle and Portland. Earlier this month, the mayor of Lakewood, Wash., located approximately 10 miles from the crash site, expressed safety concerns about the track upgrades required for Amtrak’s high-speed trains.
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