When Hurricane Matthew hit the southeastern U.S. late last year, only Florida suffered greater damage than North Carolina, which took a hit to the tune of $1.6 billion. Much of the relief after a natural disaster can be counted on to come from state coffers. But the vast majority of states, and especially “red states,” do not have the kind of cash on hand to cover nearly $2 billion in damage from a storm. So in addition to whatever the state in question can scrape together, there is always a request for aid from the federal government.
On Wednesday, NC Governor Roy Cooper sent a letter expressing disbelief at just how little the Trump administration agreed to send. Of the $929 million in aid requested by the state, Trump agreed on less than one percent. Just $6.1 million was set aside for North Carolina. By contrast, Congress just approved $61 million — ten times what North Carolina will get in aid — for security for the Trump clan from inauguration day until September of this year. By then North Carolina will be marking the anniversary of this disaster.
In the letter to Trump, Cooper outlined the unmet needs of North Carolina:
Now, we’ve all seen the memes and political cartoons of MAGA-clad farmers stuck in a flood or under earthquake rubble, their bumper stickers proclaiming “Get Your Government Hands Off My Medicare!” But those ignorant voters who just don’t understand how government works are not the only people suffering in North Carolina.
I couldn’t even begin to estimate how many stories I’ve written this year about Donald Trump betraying his own voters. He said he would “drain the swamp.” Instead, he filled his cabinet with billionaires whose interests are definitely not patriotic. He said he would pump up the economy for the working class. His budget hit the very people who put him in office the hardest. He said everyone would be covered under his replacement for the ACA, and I think we all know how that’s been working out.
But every time I write one of these, I invariably get a slew of comments about how people who voted for Trump get everything they deserve. Normally, I am inclined to agree, honestly. People who continue to vote Republican against their own best interests — at least economic interests — baffle and frustrate me, and I have very little sympathy for them. But the latest Trump treachery cannot be put into a frame that includes only the effect it has on those who elected him. So think of the damage in North Carolina, and let’s turn our frustration with voters into compassion for victims. No matter who they voted for, the Tar Heel state could never have expected a betrayal like this.
Featured image via Sean Rayford/Getty Images