Addressing the criticism faced by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for his handling of the Flint water crisis, presidential hopeful Jeb Bush on Sunday defended Snyder, saying he admires the way the governor is “stepping up right now.”
The comments come days after President Obama announced $28 million in federal funds to aid the poisoned city. In 2014, in an effort to save money, the city of Flint changed its water source from Lake Huron to the contaminated Flint River. The water corroded the system, and even though the water source was switched back to Lake Huron in October 2015, the damage had already been done.
Tests show that high levels of lead were found in both the tap water and in the city’s children. Many have reported experiencing lesions and rashes from using the water. In recent weeks, petitions calling for the resignation of Gov. Snyder, who may have known about the contaminated water well before coming forward, have garnered thousands of signatures.
But Bush, the Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Florida, feels differently.
“I admire Rick Snyder for stepping up right now. He’s going to the challenge, and he’s fired people and accepted responsibility to fix this,” Bush said on CNN’s State of the Union.
Snyder, Bush said, should not resign. Instead of blaming the governor, Bush instead pointed to “complex” regulations as the cause of the crisis.
From Think Progress:
“We’ve created this complex, no responsibility regulatory system, where the federal government, the state government, a regional government, local and county governments are all pointing fingers at one another.” He proposed simply having a “21st century system of rules: Whenever you see a problem, it should become public, there should be transparency instead of trying to cover it up.”
He then praised Snyder for having “taken responsibility” and for “rolling up his sleeves and trying to deal with it.” Bush said he should not resign, as he “needs to do what he’s doing, which is to accept responsibility and began to solve the problem,” adding that Snyder has “been a great governor for Michigan.”
Just last week, Snyder apologized for the water crisis, but his intervention may be too late. He is facing a class-action lawsuit from Flint residents for his failure to address the issue sooner.