Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) on Wednesday defended Rep. Gene Taylor's (D-Miss.) recent comments minimizing the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and comparing it to "chocolate milk."
Wicker pointed out that Taylor lives on Mississippi's Gulf coast, has a boat and is familiar with the waters. The congressman had also just viewed the oil spill when he made the controversial comment, and was merely describing it's aerial view.
"He had just done a fly-over, and the context of his remarks was that it was not another Katrina, it was not Armageddon — that bad though it might be, people ought not to be in fear."
Taylor flew over the spill in a Coast Guard plane on Saturday and said it was "not as bad" in an interview with a Biloxi TV station. He also said the slick looked like "chocolate milk" and appeared to be "breaking up naturally."
Pressed by a reporter on whether it was appropriate to downplay the spill, Taylor responded that the spill “isn’t Katrina. It’s not Armageddon. … A lot of people are scared and I don’t think they should be.”
Wicker said he had not spoken to Taylor since the congressman's remarks and had only heard about them second-hand.
"I think it's appropriate for Congressman Taylor to speak his mind. He's not been one to be defensive of big corporate interests over his career. He had just been briefed. He had just seen the oil spill himself. I know that he personally has a boat, that he's very familiar with those waters, so I would only assume he thought it was a well-considered statement."
Wicker said he also plans to coordinate his own fly-over of the oil spill with the Coast Guard.