Pelosi: GOP candidates ‘may be in denial' about Flint

Pelosi: GOP candidates ‘may be in denial' about Flint
© Getty Images

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) questioned how seriously GOP presidential candidates and Michigan’s Republican governor are taking the Flint, Mich., water crisis on Friday.

At a press conference in Flint, Pelosi hailed the way lawmakers in Congress — including Republicans — are approaching the problems in the city, where corroded pipes have led to dangerous levels of lead in the city’s drinking water. 

ADVERTISEMENT
But Pelosi said she wasn’t sure the GOP presidential candidates are on the same page.

“I had said yesterday in a press conference in D.C., in working with the Speaker [Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP rep: Virginia defeat 'a referendum' on Trump administration After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Pence: Praying 'takes nothing away' from trying to figure out causes behind mass shooting MORE, R-Wis.] on this issue, I saw nothing but signs of good will as we would go forward because they are not in denial,” she said Friday. “The presidentials may be in denial, and the governor may be in denial.”

Flint has become a leading issue for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The House passed a bill changing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policies in response to the water crisis, and senators are inching closer to voting on an aid package for Flint and other cities with water quality problems. 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has taken the brunt of Democratic criticism in the wake of the crisis, will testify on the matter before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee later this month with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyOvernight Energy: EPA releases ozone findings | Lawmakers come out against Perry grid plan | Kids sue Trump on climate change Congress must come to terms on climate change regulation EPA to repeal landmark Obama climate rule MORE.

Both Democratic presidential candidates have said more needs to be done for Flint. Democrats Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore Papadopoulos was in regular contact with Stephen Miller, helped edit Trump speech: report Bannon jokes Clinton got her ‘ass kicked’ in 2016 election MORE and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersWorld leaders reach agreement on trade deal without United States: report Sanders on Brazile revelations: DNC needs ‘far more transparency’ Sen. Warren sold out the DNC MORE will debate in the city on Sunday night ahead of Tuesday’s Michigan presidential primaries.

Flint came up only once in Thursday night’s GOP presidential debate in Detroit, when Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Cornyn: Senate GOP tax plan to be released Thursday This week: GOP seeks to advance tax overhaul MORE defended Snyder’s handling of the crisis and lamented that it became a political issue. 

“The way the Democrats have tried to turn this into a partisan issue, that somehow Republicans woke up in the morning and decided, ‘Oh, it’s a good idea to poison some kids with lead,’ it’s absurd, it’s outrageous, it isn’t true," he said.

Pelosi on Friday, visiting Flint with a delegation of House members, noted the “one fleeting second” the candidates addressed the issue, calling it “really an embarrassment.”

“I think that today is one of the least political days I have spent,” she said. “This isn’t about politicizing. This is about accountability. It’s about helping, it’s about healing, it’s about giving people hope and it’s about not underutilizing any resource to do that at every level.”