The Lookout

Ex-FEMA director Michael Brown criticizes Obama for reacting too quickly to storm

The Lookout

Boats rest on a street in New Jersey. (Steve Nesius/Reuters)

Former FEMA director Michael Brown, who was heavily criticized for the agency's failure to prepare for Hurricane Katrina, has criticized President Obama for responding to Hurricane Sandy too early.

In an interview with Denver Westword, Brown said, "One thing [President Obama's]  gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [Hurricane Sandy] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in ... Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas? Why was this so quick? ... At some point, somebody's going to ask that question."

Brown said the president may have had a more positive effect had he waited until Sunday afternoon to address the storm instead of holding a press conference that morning.

Brown's insinuation that Obama responded too early  is a gutsy move considering his role in the 2005 disaster. Brown, who was famously called "Brownie" by President George W. Bush, was seen as a symbol of government failure to protect and evacuate people from the path of Katrina.

In emails he wrote that later became public, Brown came off as inexperienced and uncaring. On the morning of the hurricane, Brown wrote, "Can I quit now? Can I come home?" to Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs. Later, in a separate email, he wrote, "I'm trapped now, please rescue me."

Brown resigned from his FEMA position a short time later. He now co-hosts a program on Denver talk radio.

View Comments (11782)