Just a little over nine months from today, Americans will choose their next leader. This election year has already seen its fair share of presidential candidates rushing to comment on every major news story, but when does a politician cross the line from commenting on news to politicizing events such as the Flint water crisis?
Ronna Romney McDaniel is the chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Regarding the drinking water situation in Flint, McDaniel says, “It’s very clear that there were failures at the local, state and federal level.”
McDaniel has been critical of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accusing the presidential candidate of using Flint families as “political pawns,” and asserting that Clinton's visit to Flint was part of a calculated campaign tactic.
She believes Clinton “doesn’t understand the whole scope of the issue, doesn’t get the facts,” and that addressing Flint’s water crisis was a move meant to serve her political interests more than those of families in Flint.
“This isn’t a partisan issue,” McDaniel says. “By not meeting with Republican leaders and Democrat leaders, she’s showing once again that she’s incapable of unifying people.”
Even more damning in McDaniel’s eyes is Clinton’s apparent decision not to visit Flint in January, when she held a campaign fundraiser in Detroit.
“She only came to Flint when her poll numbers were 30 points down in New Hampshire. I think that’s unfortunate,” she says.
McDaniel has herself been accused of politicizing the issue, but she feels she is drawing attention to a real concern and standing up for those in our state working together to be part of the solution.
“We’ve seen bipartisan legislation passed through the House and the Senate in Michigan. That is how you help a community in crisis in our state, and I’m just simply pointing out, don’t parachute into our state,” McDaniel says.
“I’m calling out a national politician who has come in and politicized an issue in our state. I don’t think that’s politicizing at all, it’s saying, you know what, we need unity right now, and be part of the solution.”
McDaniel lauds Clinton’s efforts to raise money to help the residents of Flint, but condemns the Clinton campaign for what she sees as an abuse of the crisis in the pursuit of political gain.
Ronna Romney McDaniel speaks more on the Republican primaries, congressional races and political frustration in our conversation above.