Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, thanks to a 10 second YouTube clip (video below), is being skewered across the internet. He compared Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and set off a firestorm of controversy.
“When we had that devastating Katrina, we were there within days, taking care of Mississippi, Alabama, and especially Louisiana,” said Reid. “Within days. We are now past two months with the people of New York. And the people of New Orleans, in that area, they were hurt, but nothing in comparison to what’s happened to the people in New England.”
The first issue I have is with the “we were there within days” comment. Sen. Reid said the following on Sept. 29, 2005:
“Finally, I’d like to remind everyone that Katrina struck on the 29th day of August. Now, it’s the 29th day of September and this Republican-controlled Congress has yet to send a comprehensive relief package to the president’s desk.
“Last Spring, Republicans in the House and Senate moved mountains in the middle-of-the-night to intervene in one Florida family’s tragedy. But today, when thousands of displaced families are sleeping on cots, Republicans are sitting on their hands.
The other problem I have with Reid’s comment is him saying Katrina was nothing in comparison to what’s happened to the people in New England. Huh? That’s the real head-scratcher. Nothing in comparison? Does he realize what he just said? Katrina was NOTHING in comparison to Sandy.
Mr. Reid, 80% of New Orleans was UNDERWATER for weeks. The very survival of our city was threatened. The Mississippi Gulf Coast was devastated. More than 1,800 people died during Katrina. The death toll from Sandy is around 125. It’s nothing in comparison? Did you forget the following, which you also said after Katrina?
“Katrina makes it clear this government has failed, … We must find out why immediately to make sure the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina never happens again.”
So which is it, Mr. Reid — did the government fail or was it there helping “within days?”
Both storms were terrible, devastating events for the cities they affected. Yes, a lot of people in the Northeast are still waiting for help. Yes, people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama waited far too long for help after Katrina. But comparing the storms as he did is downright stupid, and Reid should apologize to the people of the Gulf South for making such a short-sighted, uninformed and mind-boggling comment. (Full transcript here)