Donald Trump came to Flint, Michigan today, a move decried (and accurately described) by most as a photo-op. And Trump made it very clear that it was exactly that.
Although the Flint pastor who invited him made it clear to her congregation that the invitation was in no way an endorsement and that this was not a place for a political speech, four minutes into his remarks, Trump began bashing Hillary Clinton. At that point, Rev. Faith Green Timmons came up to the podium and interrupted his speech. “Mister Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not to give a political speech,” she told him. Trump, clearly flustered, blathered out a few more empty promises that Flint would be fixed “fast” if he was elected – with no details about how, exactly he would do that – and then beat a hasty retreat as the small audience of only 70 or so people politely gave him a rasher of shit.
The outcome of this event was not only predictable, it was predicted.
Michigan AFL-CIO president Ron Beiber:
Donald Trump, I have one question for you and it’s a simple one: Where the hell have you been? Here we stand, less than 60 days out from a presidential election and now Donald Trump wants to roll in town for a photo op? Give me a break.
Desiree Duell, mother and Flint Rising activist:
Not once since the beginning of his campaign has Donald Trump addressed this crisis, despite have ample opportunity. Now he is coming to our city to attempt to pivot his message and we won’t stand for it. We need a real solution to this crisis, not empty rhetoric or more of the same of his ‘run government like a business’ mentality that led to this crisis in the first place. We’ve seen what happens when profits are put over people and we will not let it happen again.
Minister Rigel Dawson of North Central Church of Christ:
We demand solutions and concrete ideas to fix this crisis. We will not be fooled by empty rhetoric. Even after Donald Trump is gone, we will remain and work together for justice and a solution. A true leader will join with us to find a solution instead of tokenizing us and will continue to keep elevating this issue until it is fixed instead of trying to co-opt this crisis for their own gain. That’s the kind of leadership that we will continue to fight for.
Brandon Dillon, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party:
It’s the profits-over-people approach to government, preached by Donald Trump and practiced by Rick Snyder, that led to the poisoning of Flint’s water. He avoided the city and its people like the plague when the crisis was at its worst, but now he’s going to show up for a photo-op? If he had the city’s interests at heart, he easily could have used his billions of dollars and so-called connections to do something to help a long time ago. Trump only cares about himself, while Hillary Clinton has a long record of working on behalf of children and families, including those in Flint.
State Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich:
Donald Trump has been completely absent since the Flint water crisis happened. Even worse, Trump’s approach of running government like a business is the same failed approach that led to the Flint water crisis in the first place. After first refusing to even comment on Flint when the crisis broke — and doing nothing for Flint families since then — Trump now wants to fly into Flint for a photo-op.
Meanwhile, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver was not in town for the photo-op. Instead, she – along with Congressman Dan Kildee and Senator Debbie Stabenow – was in Washington, D.C. urging Congress to pass legislation to help Flint recover from the Republican-inflicted catastrophe.