President Obama toured the tornado destruction in the southeast United States this morning. “I’ve never seen devastation like this,” he said as he stepped through the debris in Tuscaloosa.
As I mentioned on 5×8 this morning, one letter-writer to the Star Tribune criticized Obama for taking too long to schedule his trip, saying he flew to a fundraiser in California instead. Forgetting the fact that the fundraisers in California happened four days before the first tornado struck Alabama, I looked back at the presidential response in visiting regions where major natural disasters occurred (I left off Hurricane Katrina; it being so well documented).
“Any other president would be called out on this. Where is the media demanding accountability?” the writer asked.
|Event||President||Date of Event||Date of tour|
|Oklahoma City tornado||Clinton||5/3/99||5/8/99|
|Red River flooding||Clinton||4/17/07||4/22/07|
For the record: None of those incidents/visits prompted any coverage of complaints the presidents took too longer to get to them.
Last Sunday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked that his state be declared a disaster area because of wildfires. He’s not happy about the presidential attention on the tornado states. “You have to ask, ‘Why are you taking care of Alabama and other states?’ I know our letter didn’t get lost in the mail,” Perry said after addressing a Texas emergency management conference.
A FEMA spokeswoman said Texas has already received 22 grants to help pay fire management expenses this fire season, including 16 in April alone.