An Amtrak train chartered to carry Congressional Republicans, their aides, and family from D.C. to West Virginia struck a garbage truck Wednesday morning, injuring a few and killing the driver of the truck. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the reports of the collision and said that the president and vice president had been informed and would be updated regularly. “There are no serious injuries among members of Congress or their staff,” she said.
The train was carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers to an annual policy retreat in Greenbrier, West Virginia. According to a statement from Amtrack, the collision occurred at 11:20 a.m. at a crossing in Crozet, Virginia. It is currently unknown exactly how and why this happened, or why the garbage truck was on the tracks while a train was headed for the intersection. Accidents at railroad crossings have increased in recent years, however, and it is believed to be due, simply enough, to an increase in traffic.
Kentucky Representative James Comer described the scene. “I looked out the side of the window and then I could see a truck, just in pieces out the side of the window,” he said. “It was a garbage truck that was apparently, I would assume, trying to cross the tracks.” It may well be, however, that the truck was stuck on the tracks.
Capitol Police Director Eva Malecki said that “Congressional officials, including the United States Capitol Police, are on the scene and are working closely with partner law enforcement agencies in response to the incident.” The National Transportation Safety Board also stated that it was sending a Go-Team to investigate the accident.
According to reports from several of the passengers themselves, when the train hit the truck, the impact threw them from their seats. “We were on our way to West Virginia and it was a sudden impact, a loud noise and everyone was jolted,” Florida Representative Carlos Curbelo told MSNBC. The train reportedly stopped quickly after the impact, and several GOP lawmakers who are also doctors got off to help the injured. Among these, according to Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, were Reps. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, Michael Burgess of Texas, Phil Roe of Tennessee, Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
It was Sen. Cassidy who tweeted that there had been three people in the truck and that the driver had died. The official Twitter account for Rep. Marshall posted that he had performed CPR “on the train conductor and helped the two people in the garbage truck who are now in the ambulance. They are injured badly.” Aside from the conductor and the three in the truck, the rest of the injuries appear to have been minor.
The Left’s Response
While the overall national response has been as might be expected in a situation such as this – prayers and best wishes for those involved – many on the left apparently found today’s events too good to pass up. Some of the more notable commenters deleted their tweets in the face of backlash, but The Daily Caller managed to get screenshots of several – proving that the internet really doesn’t forget.
Twitter saw jokes about the GOP being trash, the Trump Train finally crashing, and claims that God must be sending the GOP a very ironic message. Leftist author, Bernie Sanders mouthpiece, and self-proclaimed CNN talking head Jonathan Tasini tweeted his idea of a funny joke: “When a trash truck has to humble itself and devalue its standards #TrashTruck #GOP.” In another tweet, which has since been deleted, he showed his glee at Republican misfortune, saying, “Wow, btwn train full of Goopers hitting truck and this, God is working hard today to clean up the stink. Thank her.”
For more joking and rejoicing at the tragic accident that cost one man his life, have a look at this tweet and its replies.
It’s sad that so many people would find such pleasure in this situation. Even if there were nothing wrong with wishing pain and death to your political opponents, what about the people in the truck? What about the wives and children of those Republicans on the train?