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

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

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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 Davis RyanUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Soaring deficits could put Trump in a corner if there's a recession Paul Ryan moving family to Washington 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 McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Critics accuse Interior's top lawyer of misleading Congress | Boaty McBoatface makes key climate change discovery | Outrage over Trump's order to trim science advisory panels Trump's order to trim science advisory panels sparks outrage Overnight Energy: Trump order to trim science panels sparks outrage | Greens ask watchdog to investigate Interior's records policies | EPA to allow use of pesticide harmful to bees MORE.

Both Democratic presidential candidates have said more needs to be done for Flint. Democrats Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump takes aim at media after 'hereby' ordering US businesses out of China Trump knocks news of CNN hiring ex-FBI official McCabe Taylor Swift says Trump is 'gaslighting the American public' MORE and Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Andrew Yang: News coverage of Trump a 'microcosm' of issues facing country 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 RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China 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.”