Calling the water crisis in Flint a “disaster,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder took responsibility for not following up on complaints on the poisoned water and admitted it was his “Katrina” — shorthand for a complete political failure — reports the National Journal.
In an interview on Monday, Snyder admitted that his administration was aware that the state Department of Environmental Quality was mishandling the Flint water crisis in mid-2015, with his own chief of staff sending off an email complaining about it.
Snyder stated that he failed to press the issue with subordinates that ultimately led to the death of 10 and poisoned thousands of residents of the city.
While laying some of the blame with the EPA, Snyder added, “The checks and balances that theoretically could have been there didn’t work. This is a mess. I mean, I feel terrible about all this happening. And that’s why I’m working hard to do everything I can to repair the damage and then actually work to strengthen Flint and the citizens.”
Asked if he agreed with critics who were calling Flint his Katrina moment, the governor agreed, saying, “It’s a disaster.”
Snyder has been under fire for his leadership during the crisis, with both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders slamming him at the conclusion of Sunday night’s Democratic debate. Prior to the debate, Sanders had already called upon Snyder to resign, saying “There are no excuses.”
Criticism of the Michigan governor reached a crescendo that evening when Snyder tweeted on his Twitter account — under the Twitter handle: “@onetoughnerd” — “Political statements and finger pointing from political candidates only distract from solving the Flint water crisis.”
Commenters responded to the tweet, telling the governor he should not only resign but that he should be in prison.
Mocking his @onetoughnerd Twitter name, actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted: “He’s going to get a lot tougher if he ends up in prison.”