Brown confirms what we all thought…
NEW YORK (AP) — Party politics played a role in decisions over whether to
take federal control of Louisiana and other areas affected
by Hurricane Katrina, with some in the White House
suggesting only Louisiana should be federalized because it
was run by a Democratic governor, former FEMA Director
Michael Brown said Friday.
Brown, speaking to a group of graduate students in New York
about politics and emergency management, said he had
recommended to President Bush that all 90,000 square miles
along the Gulf Coast affected by the devastating hurricane
“Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House
were thinking ‘We had to federalize Louisiana because
she’s a white, female Democratic governor and we have a
chance to rub her nose in it,” he said, without naming
names. “We can’t do it to Haley (Barbour of
Mississippi) because Haley’s a white male Republican
governor. And we can’t do a thing to him. So we’re
just gonna federalize Louisiana.’
Brown declined to say who in the White House had argued for
federalizing the response only in Louisiana, but said that
he’d later learned of the machinations through
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s office and from other
officials on the federal level.
Federalizing the region would have involved placing the
federal government in charge of all agencies responding to
the disaster, he said.
Blanco reacted sharply on hearing what Brown had said.
“This is exactly what we were living but could not bring
ourselves to believe. Karl Rove was playing politics while
our people were dying,” Blanco said through a
spokeswoman, referring to President Bush’s top
political strategist. “The federal effort was delayed,
and now the public knows why. It’s disgusting.”
It’s beyond disgusting.