Trump Says Visit to East Palestine Reached Jaw-Dropping Number of Viewers Despite Media Blackout


If this is true, it is most impressive.

Last week, former President Donald Trump visited the people of East Palestine, Ohio, who are hurting from federal indifference and an inability to trust corporate and government officials following the Feb. 3 train derailment that bathed their town in hazardous materials and pollution.

Some 178 million people viewed the former president’s visit via social and traditional media, according to a “viewership report” Trump posted to his Truth Social platform Friday.

The post, which didn’t identify its source, said more than 144 million people watched on social media and more than 34 million accessed his visit through traditional media, numbers described as “off the charts.”

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Trump’s East Palestine visit was in sharp contrast to President Joe Biden’s decision to essentially ignore the eastern Ohio disaster.

That was along with the foot-dragging on the part of Biden’s transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, who didn’t visit the area until after Trump had made the trip.

Although Alan Shaw, the CEO of Norfolk Southern, the railroad responsible for the derailed train, has been to East Palestine twice, locals were put off by company officials’ refusal to attend a town meeting regarding the wreck, citing security reasons.

But Trump, a former reality television star and producer, knows how to use media, even as establishment outlets downplayed, ignored or mocked his Ohio visit.

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“The visit meant a lot for the people of East Palestine and the surrounding communities,” his Truth Social post said.

Despite even-handed coverage on Fox News and Fox Business and positive coverage from Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Trump’s post was critical of the network.

“[W]hile traditional outlets like Fox News are woefully derelict in their reporting … the word is getting out there in a big way,” it said.

“Specifically, when the announcement was made last week there was a bump of coverage reaching about 2 million on social channels and 10 million on other channels.”

The establishment media have strongly opposed Trump and perhaps now are wise to how they unwittingly promoted his presidential campaign in 2016.

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At that time, they gave him full coverage, apparently thinking that as they let Trump run his mouth in his inimitable way, he would hang himself and destroy his candidacy. And they enjoyed great ratings covering him, too.

They apparently didn’t take into account how Trump — at once funny, descriptive, creative, outrageous and in so many ways on-target — could connect with average people in flyover country who felt ignored by media and the national power centers of both coasts.

Average people like the residents of East Palestine.

And Trump has done it again, walking among the forgotten of MAGA country, handing out water bottles, buying folks hamburgers at the local McDonald’s and, despite negative media, apparently reaching millions of people.

No wonder the establishment fears him.

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.