Fox host Ainsley Earhardt tried to exploit catastrophe by baselessly suggesting that the Democratic mayor of Houston chose not to evacuate for Hurricane Harvey just to screw over Republican state officials. Fortunately, she was shot down by Republican Rick Perry.
Perry, the current secretary of energy and former Texas governor, appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to talk up Donald Trump’s engagement with the relief efforts and his awesome ability to multitask.
But on this day, Earhardt’s usual sycophancy was not enough. She took her Republican partisanship to new lows by throwing out an unfounded conspiracy theory just for the sake of smearing the Democratic Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner.
Hilariously, Earhardt began her disgusting effort by feigning reluctance.
EARHARDT: I hate to politicize this, but many people are questioning. Was it a political move when you have the governor who’s a Republican, he was telling everyone to evacuate on Friday, wasn’t mandatory, because maybe it’s not his place to do that, but he looked at the local government, they started essentially making fun of him on Twitter saying, “Evacuate, are you kidding? This is not going to be that big of a deal, don’t evacuate.”
A lot of people frustrated now because the mayor who - a bunch of Democrats were basically laughing at the governor, and now look at the situation. So was it a political move? Why didn’t the mayor ask for a mandatory evacuation knowing this storm was as big as it was?
If Earhardt really wanted to know why Mayor Turner didn’t evacuate, a simple Google search would have provided the answer. The Texas Tribune explains that evacuating a city like Houston poses its own potentially lethal hazards. In 2005, when an order to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Rita was given, “Dozens died from accidents and heat-related illnesses, all before Rita even made landfall.”
Furthermore, as Earhardt’s own Fox News reported, Harris County Judge Edward Emmett, a Republican, is the guy in charge of overseeing emergency operations. Also, the Tribune further noted that the catastrophe in Houston is the result of rainfall, not a storm surge, and that it's unprecedented to evacuate for a rainstorm. “It’s a rain event,” Emmett said in a press conference on Friday, “We don’t know which areas might flood. If we wanted to call an evacuation, we wouldn’t even know where to call it ‘cause we don’t know where the rain’s going to fall and then which watersheds are going to be affected.”
We'll leave it to the experts to determine whether or not the local officials made the right call. But there is nothing to suggest that Democratic politics were behind it.
Perry, predictably, did not chide Earhardt for her naked political opportunism. But he did smack down the effort.
PERRY: I think spending any time trying to be critical at this particular point in time, it is a real disservice. We’ve got people whose lives are in jeopardy here. …Let’s focus on the search and rescue, then we’ll get focused on the recovery. I think everyone will be better served in that than sitting on the sidelines and saying here’s how I would’ve done it.
Watch Earhardt’s disgraceful efforts above, from the August 28, 2017 Fox & Friends.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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edit: For context, Interstate 610 in Houston.