Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney refused to answer reporters’ questions on what he would do with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if elected president.
According to a pool report, Romney was asked “at least five times” as to whether or not he would eliminate FEMA, but he ignored them all. Romney was at an event in Ohio and continued to shake hands with the public while ignoring the reporters.
Romney said during the Republican primaries that he would like to dismantle FEMA as it exists and instead give all disaster relief responsibility back to the states, or “even better” the private sector.
Asked about those comments in the wake of Hurricane Sandy where FEMA plays a substantial role in helping states respond to their individual disaster needs, the Romney campaign seemed to try to backtrack a bit.
In a statement provided to MSNBC Monday, the campaign said the former Massachusetts governor still believes states should be in charge of emergency management but only with the help of FEMA.
Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions. As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.
Joy-Ann Reid, editor of thegrio.com and MSNBC contributor, noted a few geographic reasons for why Romney might not want to talk about FEMA.
“You know why he might not want to talk about it? Because you know who likes FEMA? Florida,” Reid said on Now with Alex Wagner Tuesday. “Florida loves FEMA, and Florida’s a very close state [in the election], and Florida has had to rely on FEMA a lot because a lot of hurricanes hit there. And you know who else is about to like FEMA? West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.”