It’s photo-op time. Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he’d be flying to Flint, Michigan, to address the water crisis there and talk about blight and poverty.
If this seems a little odd to you, there are three reasons why: one, the city’s been off Flint water for several months now. Two, it was the policies promoted by Trump’s party that got Flint into this mess. And three, Donald Trump has never showed any interest in it until now.
The latter is now leading some to ask why the Mutant Tangerine picked now of all times to show up — after the disaster has been out of the headlines for several months.
“Very much involved”
While Bernie Sanders won Michigan during the primary, it was Clinton who won Flint. However, Clinton doesn’t necessarily have a stronghold in the area, even though she was one of the first politicians to talk about it. Trump has his support there, as well.
Quite a few residents from all over Michigan were waiting for the Republican candidate to arrive at the local airport, Bishop International. “Make America Great Again” hats were not exactly uncommon there, either.
The city, however, was and very much remains an African-American dominated city. In fact, Flint, Saginaw, and Detroit are three of the only cities in the United States where the African-American population outnumbers the white population.
And that’s why Trump is in Flint today; there’s a black vote he wants to sway.
I won’t recap the water crisis here; needless to say, management failed at several levels, mostly at the state level, and the crumbling infrastructure of the country caused the sequence of failures that inevitably created the crisis.
Foremost among them was the policies of the Snyder Administration, informed by ALEC, which is close to a smoking gun as you’re going to get in this situation. Sander noted this when he called for Snyder to step down.
Snyder and the Republicans, of course, would demonstrate their apathy towards fixing the problem by immediately pushing through some of the most anti-democratic legislation ever while everyone was preoccupied with the lead crisis.
Trump’s first stop after arriving at the airport was visiting the water treatment plant on the East Side of the city. Protestors had arrived earlier in the day, because they realized that Trump was here simply to use the water crisis as a campaign prop.
During an exclusive interview with NBC25 and FOX66, two local news affiliates in Detroit, Trump said that:
“First of all, it would have never happened, because it was so ridiculous. In order to save a small amount of money, they re-do the whole thing and now it’s a disaster. I will say this, my administration, we’ll get very much involved, and we’re going to get the problem solved. But it’s still not solved and it’s hard to believe – but it’s really harder to believe that they did it in the first place, should have never happened.”
Of course, Ron Bieber, president of the AFL-CIO, put it best:
“Less than 60 days before the election and now Donald Trump rolls into town for a photo op. Give me a break. Where the hell have you been?”
Working on that healthy orange glow, apparently.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images