GOP Rep. Collins blasts Buttigieg for Ohio response, says impeachment not off the table

FIRST ON FOX: A Georgia congressman blasted Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for his response to the Ohio train derailment and toxic chemical spill, saying impeachment is not off the table.

Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., a freshman Republican who ascended to Congress in the 2022 midterm elections, weighed in on the Transportation Department’s response to the toxic chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio.


Collins said, "They should have shown up immediately" and that "any time we have a problem, as far as small businesses are concerned, you get right to the scene and see exactly what's going on, so you can assess the problem" and "figure out what the solution is."

"Yeah, they sent people up there, but… this thing was a major catastrophe and something like that garners the head of the department showing up," Collins said.

"And, you know, he just was bent on not going," the congressman continued. "And there's reasons why he did that."

"That’s just another, in my opinion, another clear example of this agency and the fact that they have got their sights set on stuff other than trying to improve the infrastructure of this country," Collins said. "And that’s the woke culture that this guy is promoting."

Collins said that whether it’s a train derailment, "planes almost landing on top of each other," or "some person deleting a file that shuts down a whole industry, there's something else that is going on besides what you see," calling them "results of an administration that is pushing a woke culture."

The Georgia Republican also noted the CEO of the rail company at the center of the toxic chemical spill, Norfolk Southern, recently notified shareholders of the firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) push for "cultivating a safe, inclusive culture."

"They're more worried about appeasing an administration and gender pronouns than they are putting grease on wheel bearings," Collins said, adding air traffic controllers are leaving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) "because of the culture."

Collins, whose family runs a three-decade-old trucking business, said Buttigieg was an "identity politics" pick for his position that only knows "how to push" the ideology. He also said the transportation secretary "knows nothing about the infrastructure and transportation problems in this country."

"If we identified the problem, that’s the problem," Collins said. "We’re more in tune with trying to fix culture problems and be woke than we are fixing transportation infrastructure problems."

"The solution is… you get rid of Pete Buttigieg and get somebody in there that knows what they’re doing and what they’re talking about," the Georgia Republican continued. "We spent over $1 trillion on the infrastructure bill and the rails aren’t safer, roads aren’t any better, and the airports and the runways aren’t any safer."

Collins said Americans are "already seeing" the dangers of woke culture taking root in government, noting that "congestion is crazy" and "not being addressed," and that a person "can’t get from point A to point B."


"We're barely addressing the potholes, the bridges that need to be replaced.… That's where we need to have our focus. They didn't even put in enough money in that infrastructure bill anyway to alleviate congestion, but you're going to see more of that due to the fact that they're more worried about who we call or what we call or making sure that we have the right diversity."

The Georgia Republican said he does not "think anything is off the table" when it comes to impeaching Buttigieg, should he not step down.

Collins also said that, if he were a person living in East Palestine, Ohio, he would think Buttigieg’s delay of travel to survey the rail disaster shows "he doesn’t even care" and that they are "not important enough."

"Pete Buttigieg needs to give you the real reason why he wasn’t there," Collins said. "But when something significant like that happens, a department head ought to be there. He ought to be right there, on the ground."

"In my private sector, we make our living out on the public roads," the congressman also said. "We don’t have an office building that we go to and we’re with the motoring public every day. And it’s important that we keep these roads safe."

"And in order to do that, you need competent people and a Department of Transportation head guiding that ship," Collins added. "And that's what you don't have."

Buttigieg traveled to East Palestine, Ohio, last week to view the derailment. Critics blasted Buttigieg for his choice of dress boots for surveying the toxic chemical spill.

A Transportation Department spokesperson pointed FOX News Digital to a tweet by Buttigieg when asked for comment.

"Beginning in the first hours when USDOT arrived on-site, and continuing for as long as it takes, our department is working alongside our administraiton partners to ensure that the residents in East Palestine are made whole and Norfolk Southern is held accountable," Buttigieg wrote.