Politicizing Harvey: MSNBC Host Pushes This Issue While the Water Levels Rise

Hurricane Harvey, which has been downgraded to the level of a tropical storm, has devastated the Texas coast. Homes in some towns along the coast have been filled with waist-high water, and emergency personnel have been using boats to rescue people.

Amid this humanitarian crisis, a TV news host thought it would be a good time to get political. MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle asked both MSNBC correspondent Kerry Sanders and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott if illegal immigrants were running the risk of being deported if they found refuge at storm shelters.

On radio Monday, Pat and Stu discussed the politicization of Harvey and compared it to how Hurricane Katrina coverage was used against President George W. Bush.

“You’re talking to people who are right in the middle of this flooding and trying to save lives,” Pat said, asserting that the main issue right now is simply saving people regardless of color or creed.

Stu noted that people are also turning Harvey into a political cudgel by making apples-to-oranges comparisons about funding. People are blaming President Donald Trump for cutting back on funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“So if they had the extra hundred million dollars, they would have what – pushed the hurricane back out to sea?” Stu asked.

Kind of interesting over the weekend, as we have this major catastrophic human tragedy going on, MSNBC host Stephanie Rule still trying to make it something political. Still trying to get up in people's faces about --

STU: Oh, yeah. Heavy doses.

PAT: -- illegal immigration. Listen to her talking to one of the reporters who is in Houston, in the flooding, talking about what's going on, and where does she take it?

VOICE: So if you're in your car and you're listening to us right now on satellite radio and you're not sure where you're going, you're just evacuating, get out the Airbnb app. They're opening up places for people to stay for free.

VOICE: Can I ask, you might not know the answer, but Texas, especially southern Texas, has quite a few undocumented immigrants. Are they able to go to any of these centers that you're being directed to by city officials?

VOICE: Not only -- not only is it wide open. Nobody checks on any of that.

PAT: Thank you. Thank you.

STU: Excuse me. We're just going to let you drown outside.

PAT: I mean, that is so ridiculous.

Let me ask you a question, Stephanie, are illegal aliens human? Then, yes, they get to go to the fallout centers. And even the pets can. Jeez.

STU: The pets. That's one of the big things they're showing on social media are all the pets being rescued. No, we're not monsters. I know this is stunning. People in Houston are not monsters that wants everybody else to die.

PAT: But that wasn't enough for her. Because she was talking to Governor Greg Abbott just a few minutes later.

VOICE: -- pathway out of the storm.

VOICE: How about risk of deportation? For those undocumented immigrants that could be in the way of the storm's path.

PAT: Okay. So now she's heard they can come to the shelter, but I'm sure you mean, mean Texans are going to deport them once you find out that they're not legal citizens.

GLENN: Stay in the clear to go to some of these evacuation centers. Do they have to show ID?

VOICE: It's my understanding from what I saw the border patrol instructions yesterday, that will not be an issue. What everyone is focused on right now is ensuring all we can to protect life. We all have a high regard for life. We want to ensure the safety of all lives. And we're prepared to take all measures to do so.

PAT: Greg Abbott is great. I mean, he handled that question a lot better than I would.

STU: Yours would have had many swears in the middle of it. Maybe --

PAT: Potentially yes.

STU: -- throwing something at the camera. There could have been some incidents there.

PAT: Uh-huh. There could have been.

STU: Understandable in that spot.

PAT: Oh, man. Can we not take it political, when we're right in the middle of the catastrophe? How about that MSNBC?

PAT: Pat, Stu, Jeffy, in for Glenn on the Glenn Beck Program. He's under the weather today. Should be back tomorrow. Mercury One is working with six disaster partners. They've been preparing to deploy on this since last week. So they've been ready and they're already there on the scene. Operation barbecue is there.

STU: It's interesting, obviously they're at the point now where they haven't fully deployed. They're all staging around the state, all these organizations. I mean, if Operation Barbecue needs a place to stage, we are only a few hours away from the disaster area, and they could come stage their barbecue facilities right here in the parking lot.

PAT: Very true. Good point, yeah.

JEFFY: You are a genius.

STU: I'm just -- look, we are all about helping, as everyone knows. And I think that's a good way to help.

PAT: No question. So they're scouting locations where they can set up because obviously they don't want to be underwater in a few minutes. They'll have the capacity to feed 15 to 20,000 meals a day. That is -- that's awesome.

Team Rubicon is going to be there staging all around Texas, to send in recon teams to assess the situation and to deploy search-and-rescue boats.

City Impact is staging supplies for deployment. They've already released an initial $100,000 to fund initial field operations. And 2 million worth of gifts in kind, in anticipation of shipments.

Somebody Cares, it's a cooking team. They've already arrived on the scene. Gleaning for the World, dispatched four tractor-trailor loads of water and 16 loads of blankets. So -- and the Provisions Project, providing monetary and volunteer support for search-and-rescue operations.

So if you'd like to help out, if you'd like to donate, 100 percent of the proceeds go to the -- the Houston Relief Fund. And you can go to in order to donate. Okay?

Because -- because we do the operational costs with other events during the course of the year, all of your money goes where you intend it to be. So it's a great cause.

888-727-BECK. 888-727-BECK is our phone number.

This is a really catastrophic event. And as we were just playing a few minutes ago for you, some people already trying to turn it political. I mean, how do you -- how do you try to make this about deportation and illegal aliens when you're talking to people who are right in the middle of this flooding and trying to save lives, not caring whether they're black, white, red, or brown. Nobody cares.

STU: Yeah, certainly not. I've seen multiple examples of this already, not just with illegal immigrants. First of all, I saw someone talking about how, well, did you know Donald Trump's budget cut funding by 10 million or $20 million for the NOAA?

Which, of course, deals with hurricanes all the time. And it's like -- and now this could cost billions of dollars in damage.

So if they had the extra $100 million, they would be -- they would have, what? Pushed the hurricane back out to sea? What would have exactly happened? They all knew the hurricane was coming.

It had nothing to do with -- they didn't like, see it? We all know the hurricane was coming. We just don't know how it was going to react. And if they had an extra little bit of cash, which probably hasn't been implemented, these cuts, I don't think there would have been a difference there.

Another one was people saying like, here's the list of the, whatever. Fifteen, 20 Republicans in Texas, who voted against Hurricane Sandy relief.

PAT: Right. Because they wanted people to die.

STU: Because they wanted people to die. And now we're going to punish those people in Texas because their representatives voted against the funding package. Which, of course, there was never a vote against funding the relief. There were votes against the way it was done, how much money was going to different areas. I mean, we are a country that has turned the corner on this. And I don't know that it's necessarily a positive in every circumstance.

But there was a time in which we did not have the federal government to come in for local disaster relief. That was not part of their job.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: And I would say for most of our history.

JEFFY: Yeah.

STU: And that changed. And now we just assume FEMA is going to cover it every time. So that's kind of where we are now. And even most Republicans don't fight that.

PAT: Yeah, accept it. They just accept it now. And really, that started under Bush, I think. With Katrina. Maybe a little before that. But it didn't used to be that everybody was saying, like you mentioned, where's FEMA? The minute something happened. Because that's not what they did. They weren't the first responders.

STU: There were stories in our history where they turned people away. The federal government to try to show up. And they'd be like, get out of here. This is our problem. Get out. That is not the way we are anymore.

JEFFY: No, it's tough to get those days back.

STU: And Bush is -- I think, you're right, Pat, in that there were certainly aspects of it that that happened before Bush. But Bush really put the -- it made it into a caricature.

Because it really, arguably, ruined his presidency. When you -- just again, we're doing a break here about the way people are talking about politics, the disaster. So I -- I recognize that that's kind of a bizarre thing to talk about today. But that was really -- when it became politicized was that, because the left and the media used Katrina, not as a tragedy where we all come together, but a way to say George Bush was incompetent. It really became that, instead of a tragedy, a large human tragedy, it was just, this guy we don't like, he's really bad at what he's doing. And so they used that as a bludgeon on him. And it's now become to the point where I think every person who is a politician now seems like I can't do enough -- I can't throw enough money -- I can't throw enough resources at everything that happens because if one of these things happen, it's going to be my butt. And, of course, this is how politicians think. It's pathetic. But it's how they think, many of them. And so it -- at this point, this is a legitimate. I mean, it's shaping up to be a Katrina-sized disaster. It's that bad.

JEFFY: If not worse. Yeah.

PAT: It was Katrina and Puffy Combs. Right? Or Sean P. Diddy, or whatever he is. Wasn't it him that said --

STU: No, I believe it was Kanye.

PAT: It was Kanye. Kanye West that announced -- and it was because of Katrina: George Bush doesn't like black people.

STU: Mike Myers. Poor guy was standing next to him. Do you remember that?

PAT: What was that event?

STU: I think it was the big Katrina fundraiser afterwards. It was one of those where they put them on every network. And they had all the celebrities come out. And then George Bush doesn't care about black people.

PAT: Yeah, that's not in the prompter, Kanye.

STU: And Austin Powers is standing next to him with this face, I don't know what to do.

That was such a weird moment. But, you know, it's actually where -- one of the -- one of the -- that was one of the starts for Van Jones in the public eye.

PAT: Oh, yeah.

STU: Operated an organization at the time that started selling Bush hates black people T-shirts. I think it was -- it was some phrase that meant that. Or Bush doesn't care about black people. And he started selling the T-shirts. And that's what funded a good chunk of the early part of his organization. Later on, obviously to rise to the heights of the White House, just a few years later. Which is really incredible.

You know, this is going to be ugly. And it's going to be ugly not only in the fact of it being a natural disaster, but what people will say, what people will do. I mean, the Keith Olbermann thing. Did you guys see the Keith Olbermann thing?

PAT: No.

STU: Why would you? It's Keith Olbermann.

PAT: Right. I don't even know where to find Keith either, if I wanted to.

STU: And I don't either. I know he's on Twitter. He's on Twitter.

PAT: Okay.

STU: And so Betsy DeVos, the education secretary tweeted something like, hey, we're in the middle of helping. All these local schools. Generic message of, like, just so you know, here's what we're doing to help schools. And he tweeted back like, you will do more damage than this hurricane -- than the hurricane could ever do to these schools, mother Fer.

PAT: What?

STU: What has she done?

PAT: Wow.

STU: She believes education should be better and more controlled by the individual. And that means in the middle of a hurricane, you start calling her a mother Fer publicly? This guy is completely insane at this point. He's given up attempting to appear sane.

PAT: Wow.

JEFFY: Yeah, he has.

STU: He's just abandoned the process. Like every day, we wake up and we have crazy thoughts. Everybody has a crazy thought in their head every once in a while. You know what, I should order 14 20-piece McNuggets today. And you just stop yourself because we live in a society, we're supposed to all have standards. And Keith Olbermann has given up on the process.

PAT: That's for sure.

STU: He is the mental equivalent of ordering 20 piece McNuggets over and over again and going through the drive through. That's where he's landed. I mean, in some ways, it's sad. He was never smart before. Man, it has gone downhill. He has given up on society.

PAT: That makes him the perfect match though again for ESPN.

STU: He should probably go back. He should probably go back.

JEFFY: Yes, it does.

PAT: They're kind of on the same wavelength now.

STU: They can't put him on TV. I think he'd just show up in an open robe. I don't think anyone -- like I just got -- find him a nice quiet place, America. Find Keith Olbermann a nice quiet place where he can relax. He can live his life. Maybe some birds fly by occasionally. He gets a nice tray of cafeteria food.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: I mean, it's time. The poor man needs a quiet place.

PAT: And this is what we can't have. We have to come together as Americans and take care of a catastrophe like this. Right? Without worrying about who is on the left, who is on the right, what is your political stance. I don't care. Let's save you. Try to make life a little bit better for you right now.

JEFFY: We are seeing some of that, at least with people on the ground. Right? The everyday people are doing that.

PAT: Yes. Yes.

JEFFY: Are coming together and helping people. We saw footage of people bringing out their boats all day yesterday, rescuing people. That wasn't FEMA.

STU: No.

JEFFY: That wasn't the mayor. That wasn't the governor.

PAT: That's right.

JEFFY: That was everyday people saying, these people need help. I'm helping.

STU: We still have three to four days of rain and we're already jumping to the politics. I mean, that is disturbing. That's not the way this is supposed to work.


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