FEMA Chief Brock Long shut down Trump-bashing Andrea Mitchell during a televised interview on Wednesday, leaving MSNBC producers freaking out. You’re going to love this!
During a Wednesday interview with FEMA Chief Brock Long, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell did her best to bash the Trump administration’s efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. “The fact is,” Mitchell said, “Just as after Katrina, where there was infrastructure in parts of New Orleans, that is a federal responsibility. These are American citizens.”
“Uh, no, you’re actually wrong on that,” Long fired back. “It’s not a federal responsibility to upkeep the infrastructure. Actually, most of the infrastructure in this [country] is owned by the private sector.” Long also noted that FEMA put “over $2 billion in food and commodities” in Puerto Rico after the storm, but grocery stores and retailers have to help with the recovery as well.
Mitchell also tried to blame FEMA for the death toll in Puerto Rico, but again, Long offered her a much-needed reality check, explaining that the death toll is largely due to deaths that occurred from lack of infrastructure or accidents during repairs being made after the storm.
“When it comes to the indirect deaths … the indirect deaths for any event are typically greater in many cases,” Long said. “You have people who died after the storm passed because they fell off their roof making repairs, they died in car crashes because the stoplights were off, you have chainsaw accidents, you have accidents with people cleaning up debris.”
In Puerto Rico, these accidental deaths were even more prevalent than usual, thanks to the fact that the infrastructure there was already crumbling, even before Maria hit. The fact that Puerto Rico’s government allowed things to get so bad is no fault of FEMA’s, or of President Trump’s.
Mitchell referenced Sen. Jeff Merkley’s claim that FEMA re-appropriated $10 million from hurricane response to ICE detentions. However, not only was that $10 million already set to expire at the end of the year, but FEMA could not have used the money for disaster relief purposes because of appropriations rules.
$10 million of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds transferred to the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency were set to expire and never could have been used for disaster relief operations, a DHS official said in a Wednesday statement.
The funding was sent from the FEMA “operational account” and represented savings from expenses for “raining, basic purchase cards, office supplies, HQ overhead support,” the DHS official said. The official continued, “This was money that was in savings and was going to expire at the end of this fiscal year on September 30th.”
The official stressed that the funding could not be used for disaster relief operations due to appropriations rules. DHS’s pushback follows a story pushed by Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley declaring that $10 million of FEMA money was diverted to ICE for detention operations. Merkley, however, left out key context on the funding in a document he released and promoted on several TV networks. [Source: The Daily Caller]
“Right now, that money has nothing to do with what you see behind me,” Long said of the story, gesturing to the FEMA employees sitting behind him. “It does not pay for this response, it is not coming out of the disaster relief fund, it has no impact on our efforts to be prepared in Florence. Unfortunately, we have a congressman that is playing politics on the back of Florence. There’s no story there,” he concluded.
FEMA Chief Brock Long had to debunk many of the same absurd claims in an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America the same day. These so-called “journalists” are truly unbelievable.