Don’t Be A Creep About Kentucky Tornadoes Just Because Rand Paul Is A POS
Tornadoes ripped through Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee and Illinois this weekend, causing catastrophic damage. So far, at least 70 people are dead in Kentucky, which is terrible. GOP Senator Rand Paul took a break from trolling Dr. Anthony Fauci and asked President Joe Biden to very quickly send help, which Biden was going to do anyway because he’s the president, not a mob boss like his predecessor. Biden doesn’t limit his assistance or try to use disaster aid as a bargaining chip.
Paul’s letter to Biden is rude as hell, without a single “please” or “thank you” anywhere. He just demands that Biden move “expeditiously to approve the appropriate resources for our state.” Biden wasn’t going to sit around on his ass, even though the GOP snarkily tweeted Saturday that he’d gone to Delaware for another “undeserved weekend off.”
This morning I sent a letter to @POTUS asking for expeditious approval of any request for federal assistance by our Governor. If you are a Kentuckian & need assistance with federal agencies following the devastating & deadly storms, please contact my KY office at 270-782-8303.pic.twitter.com/7t01njodwY— Senator Rand Paul (@Senator Rand Paul) 1639230799
Biden approved a state of emergency for Kentucky promptly on Saturday, because he is still president when he’s back home in Delaware. Unlike Donald Trump, he didn’t disparage Kentucky and blame the state’s government for its problems. We also can’t imagine the Democratic Party’s Twitter insulting Trump on the same day California Democrats were requesting federal aid.
Paul tweeted Saturday afternoon that he’d joined a call with FEMA Director Deanne Criswell to "help coordinate relief for the Commonwealth.” (Kentucky, like Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, is a “commonwealth,” which is different from a state in name alone.) This is all normal behavior from a US senator when a disaster strikes their state. However, as others have noted, Paul doesn’t actually support federal disaster assistance, in general. He was one of 11 senators who opposed a 2014 bill that would’ve kept FEMA from running out of cash. He’s also consistently voted against hurricane disaster relief. Back in 2013, he accused New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie of being some “gimme, gimme, gimme” deadbeat because he wanted federal aid after Hurricane Sandy. Paul thinks America has only so much money and we should prioritize our spending for national defense, even though China isn’t launching hurricanes, wildfires, and tornadoes at America.
Paul is a fraud and a hypocrite, but that doesn’t mean so-called liberals should also be assholes about Americans suffering through a natural disaster. TV writer Nell Scovell shared this gem Saturday:
SCOVELL: Sorry Kentucky. Maybe if your 2 senators hadn’t spent decades blocking legislation to reduce climate change, you wouldn’t be suffering from climate disasters. If it’s any consolation, McConnell and Rand have fucked us over too.
That’s not the best sentiment after people have died through no fault of their own. Yes, Kentucky elected assholes like Paul and McConnell, but they also elected Gov. Andy Beshear, who’s a Democrat. People contain multitudes. Besides, there’s a good chance the tornadoes also affected the 43 percent of Kentuckians who didn’t vote for Paul in 2016. Tornadoes are pretty indiscriminate, but even if they were more focused in their destruction, it’s just gross to mock desperate people like you’re a common Nelson Muntz.
Naturally, Republicans leapt on Scovell’s tweet as evidence of how terrible liberals are, even though most liberals were quick to denounce the tweet. Scovell also deleted the offensive tweet — self-inflicted cancel culture! — and apologized. She didn’t double down like Paul Gosar or Lauren Boebert. Senator Ted Cruz also mocked Californians who’d lost power during the 2020 wildfires. Republicans have always taken the position that people fully deserve what comes to them when they elect Democrats.
Bad tweets aside, Democrats collectively are more inclined to believe we’re all in this together. Rand Paul would shrug and let New York drown, but his callous disregard for others doesn’t reflect most Kentuckians, who are rallying together to help each other after the storms. It’s a longshot, but let’s hope Kentucky collectively rejects Paul at the ballot box next year.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."