The former Bush administration official who headed Hurricane Katrina disaster relief said Wednesday that President Barack Obama played “the race card” with his 2007 speech about the Bush administration’s response.
Michael Brown, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, harshly criticized then-Sen. Obama’s remarks to a black audience at Hampton University, where Obama railed against a double standard for federal relief efforts in New Orleans.
“I call total BS on the President’s comments about Katrina,” Brown told POLITICO in an email. “He needs to get his facts straight and stop playing the race card with Katrina.”
Brown added, “The men and women of FEMA work tirelessly for disaster victims regardless of race, political affiliation or any other category he wants to lump people into.”
In his address 5 years ago, Obama attacked the government’s delay in waiving a federal requirement for relief and reconstruction for Katrina victims, as it had been for other disasters. The federal Stafford Act — which governs the distribution of disaster relief dollars — requires states and localities to match about 10 percent of the funds they received, which was waived quickly after Sept. 11. It wasn’t waived for Katrina until about 9 months after the hurrican struck.