FLINT, MI — With just four days before the election, President Donald Trump is putting the blame for the Flint water crisis at the feet of former Gov. Rick Snyder, claiming in a tweet that he “poisoned the people of Flint, Michigan.”
Trump fired off the Twitter message early Friday, Oct. 30, with polls consistently showing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading the president in polls of likely voters in Michigan, a key battleground state.
“I would NEVER have taken the endorsement of the man who, through gross incompetence, poisoned the people of Flint, Michigan,” Trump’s tweet says. “Former RINO Governor Rick Snyder should be ashamed of himself and his service. I was asked to help fix it. Biden took his endorsement. VOTE TRUMP!!!”
RINO is an acronym for Republican In Name Only.
Just 14 hours earlier, Trump also honed in on Flint and Snyder in another Twitter message, calling the former governor “a disaster with respect to the Flint Water CATASTROPHE, and a very bad Governor overall …”
During his time as governor, Snyder appointed a series of emergency financial manager who handled Flint’s affairs in place of the elected mayor and City Council. Those managers made decisions that led to using the Flint River as the city’s water source in an effort to save money. The switch in water sources triggered the Flint water crisis, leaving the city with tap water that had elevated levels of lead, bacteria and chlorination byproducts.
State government agencies during the water crisis downplayed the concerns of residents about their water and repeatedly assured the public that their water was safe to drink.
In September, Snyder announced in a an op-ed for USA Today that he was supporting Biden in the election, calling Trump a “bully” who is “verbally abusive” to those who oppose him and divides, rather than unites the nation.”
Trump flipped Michigan by 10,704 votes in 2016, the closest margin in the state’s history of presidential elections, while Democrat votes fell in majority-Black cities like Flint and Detroit. Just 14 percent of Flint voters supported Trump in 2016, but Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton received 7,856 fewer votes from Flint residents compared to former President Barack Obama in 2012.
The Rev. Alfred Williams, president of the Concerned Pastors for Social Action in Flint, said Friday that Snyder deserves blame for what happened to Flint’s water, but said he Trump’s message Friday in nothing more than desperate politics.
“Totally political and another attempt to insult our intelligence,” said Harris, who was a centrally involved in efforts to end the use of the Flint River water here. “In this political season, I think it’s inappropriate.
“The (former) governor knows how we feel,” Harris said. ” We feel nothing took place (in Flint) that he was not aware of (but) to come out with this the week before the…