Democratic Candidates Call For Michigan Governor Snyder’s Resignation

CREDIT: AP Photo, Paul Sancya

Gov. Rick Snyder speaks after attending a Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee meeting in Flint, Mich.

Minutes into Sunday evening’s CNN Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan, both candidates called for the state’s governor to resign.

While not an unusual move — many politicians, activists, and residents have demanded the same since news of Gov. Rick Snyder’s serious neglect in tackling Flint’s lead-polluted drinking water went public — it showed solidarity in the candidate’s outrage over how the state government handled the ongoing public health crisis.

“I believe the governor of this state should understand that his dereliction of duty was irresponsible,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in his opening remarks.

Unlike Sanders, who already asked for Snyder to step down in January, Sunday’s debate was the first time Hilary Clinton demanded the governor’s resignation.

“I will start by saying amen to that,” Clinton began. “The governor should resign or be recalled, and we should support the efforts of citizens attempting to achieve that.”

Clinton did criticize Snyder shortly after Sanders first called for his resignation, especially for ignoring a city with a predominantly low-income, black population.

“If the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would’ve been action,” Clinton said in January. Snyder responded to her outcry on Twitter, saying her “finger-pointing” was a distraction to the real crisis at hand.

Snyder was also quick to respond to both candidates’ opening comments on Sunday on Twitter.

Both candidates agreed that shedding Snyder wasn’t the only solution to helping reverse the serious damage lead-heavy water has left on the city’s residents. Multiple members of the state government were at fault, they agreed — and it would take stronger federal interference to avoid similar disasters in the future.

“As the President of the United States, this is what I would do if local government does not have the resources … federal government comes in, federal government acts,” Sanders said.

But when asked if the head of the Environmental Protection Agency should also step down in the wake of the crisis, neither candidate gave a concrete answer. Clinton stressed that the “higher-ups” were the ones pushing for intervention that was largely being ignored by state-level officials.

Sanders echoed Clinton’s reply: “President Sanders would fire anybody who knew about what was happening and did not act appropriately.”