Barnstead, NH — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz became the latest presidential candidate to weigh in on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, saying during a campaign stop in New Hampshire that “there needs to be accountability” and blaming the government for exposing the city’s residents to lead-contaminated water.
“What’s happened in Flint, Michigan is an absolute travesty,” Cruz said during a press conference. “It is a failure at every level of government, a failure of the city officials, a failure of the county officials, and the men and women of Michigan have been betrayed. Every American is entitled to have access to clean water. and to all the children who have been poisoned by government officials, by their negligence, by their ineptitude, it’s heart-breaking.”
Cruz continued that all of levels of government should be held accountable for the potentially long-lasting health effects.
“There needs to be accountability as to why dirty water, poisoned water was given to a community that did not deserve this,” the candidate said. “And we need to ensure that there’s accountability to ensure clean water and clean air. and our prayers right now are with the people of Flint, Michigan, that the health consequences of this are not as long-lasting as many fear will be. There needs to be accountability, starting with the city government and all the way up.”
Calls for the resignation of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) have intensified, and the governor is expected to address the crisis in his state of the state address Tuesday night. Over the weekend, the Obama administration to declare a federal emergency and send millions of dollars in aid to buy residents bottled water, water filters, and lead-testing kits. The federal government has approved $5 million in aid so far, and says they will send more if necessary. Snyder, who is now facing a class action lawsuit from Flint residents, had also requested $96 million and the designation of a “major disaster declaration.”
Marco Rubio was the first Republican candidate to be asked about the crisis on Monday. But Rubio said he had not been briefed on the issue.
“I’d love to give you a better answer on it,” Rubio said. “It’s just not an issue we’ve been quite frankly fully briefed or apprised of in terms of the role the governor has played and the state has played in Michigan on these sorts of issues.”
Donald Trump was also asked by reporters about the issue during a campaign stop in Iowa, but the frontrunner declined to comment. While he said it’s “a shame” that tens of thousands of people risk lead poisoning, he added, “I shouldn’t be commenting on Flint.”