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Campaign Week in Review: Rubio Defends Michigan Governor’s Handling of Flint

Ally Boguhn

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that Gov. Rick Snyder "took responsibility for what happened" in Flint, despite Snyder facing harsh criticism for how he's handled the crisis.

This week on the campaign trail, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) admitted that the Flint water crisis is a “terrible thing” but defended Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) role in it, and Donald Trump named himself a “truth teller” about Planned Parenthood.

“I Give the Governor Credit”: Rubio Defends Michigan Governor’s Handling of Flint

Rubio glossed over the role Snyder played in the water crisis in Flint that has left the city’s residents exposed to contaminated water. An investigator examining how the city was exposed to toxic water said last month that state officials could face charges, including manslaughter

Debate moderator Chris Wallace asked Rubio why Republicans haven’t “done more or talked more about [Flint]” during Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, hosted by Fox News in Detroit.

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“What happened in Flint was a terrible thing,” Rubio responded. “It was systemic breakdown at every level of government, at both the federal and partially theboth the state and partially at the federal level, as well.”

Rubio went on to criticize Democrats for “politicizing” what happened in Flint, claiming that making it a political issue “is unfair, because I don’t think that someone woke up one morning and said, ‘Let’s figure out how to poison the water system to hurt someone.’”

“But accountability is important. I will say, I give the governor credit. He took responsibility for what happened,” Rubio continued, defending Snyder’s response to the crisis.

While Rubio spoke, activists protested outside of the debate in hopes of drawing attention to the crisis residents of Flint are facing—many holding signs demanding the resignation of the governor, according to Talking Points Memo. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has called for Snyder’s resignation. 

Snyder has faced harsh criticism for the way he has handled the Flint water crisis. In January, leaked emails revealed that his administration had stocked clean water for state employees despite continuing to tell Flint’s residents that the water was safe to drink.

Aides close to Snyder claim the governor had known about problems with the city’s drinking water as early as October 2014.

Trump: “I Am a Truth Teller” on Planned Parenthood

Trump used his Super Tuesday victory speech to declare himself a “truth teller” on Planned Parenthood, once again noting the importance of the organization but nevertheless calling for it to be defunded. 

“Look, Planned Parenthood has done very good work for many, manyfor millions of women,” Trump told the crowd during a Tuesday night speech in Palm Beach, Florida. “I’m a common sense conservative, but millions of women have been helped by Planned Parenthood, but we’re not going to allow, we’re not going to fund as long as you have the abortion going on,” the presidential candidate continued, re-asserting his stance that the organization should be defunded.

“Millions of people, and I’ve had thousands of letters from women, that have been helped. And this wasn’t a setup. This was people writing letters,” Trump said. “I’m going to be really good for women, I’m going to be good for women’s health issues, it’s very important to me.”

Trump has continuously spoken on the campaign trail about the “very good work” Planned Parenthood does while simultaneously calling for the organization to lose its funding because it provides abortion care—despite the fact that the Hyde Amendment already bans federal funding for most abortions.

What Else We’re Reading

Some experts and educators suggest that Hillary Clinton’s Breaking Every Barrier Agenda, which includes a promise to end the school-to-prison pipeline, is “incomplete” and “disingenuous.”

Trump’s health-care plan “would lead to a significant increase in the number of people uninsured.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) falsely claimed during an appearance at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage could force Christian broadcasters off the air.

An investigation by the Washington Post into what happened to the $6 million raised by Trump when he skipped a Republican debate to hold a fundraiser for veterans was unable to account for more than half of the money that was meant to go to the cause.

Donald Trump Jr. joined white supremacist James Edwards on the radio Tuesday in order to campaign for Donald Trump. Reuters reports that Edward’s radio show, The Political Cesspool, “is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading U.S. civil rights group, as ‘racist and anti-Semitic.’”

In the first election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, many Super Tuesday voters were blocked from voting thanks to new voting restrictions—and Democrats appear to be hit the hardest.

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