Yesterday morning, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro expressed his frustration with the lack of help his borough has received after it was devastated by Hurricane Sandy by yelling at the Red Cross in the middle of a press conference and even urging people to cease giving the charity money. Later that day, Mr. Molinaro went on Anderson Cooper 360 to say the Red Cross has finally showed up to help Staten Island.
At a press conference this morning on Staten Island, a host of local officials, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, gathered to highlight the needs of the hard-hit borough in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And, although many pols spoke, no one was more impassioned than Borough President James Molinaro, who called the Red Cross an “absolute disgrace” and even urged the public to cease giving them contributions.
“Because the devastation in Staten Island, the lack of a response,” Mr. Molinaro said to explain his comment to NBC after the press conference. “You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It’s very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They’re supposed to be here….They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people.”
Standing before a Red Cross in Washington D.C. earlier this afternoon, President Barack Obama praised response efforts in the face of Hurricane Sandy, singling out New York in particular.
“This storm is not yet over,” Mr. Obama said to begin his address, labeling the hardship faced by the country as “extraordinary,” adding, “Obviously this is something that is heartbreaking for the entire nation.” According to the White House pool report, the president went on to say his “most important message” to those recovering from the storm’s devastating aftermath was, “America is with you.”
With Election Day only a week away, President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, can’t afford to slow down much in terms of campaigning, but over the past 24 hours, their campaigns have both taken the time to ask for contributions to something that isn’t their own war chests. For example, as Mr. Obama was boarding a plane to do some politicking in Orlando this evening, his campaign’s deputy press secretary, Jen Psaki, made sure to note the president was also focused on the potential victims of Hurricane Sandy.
“We urge everyone to take appropriate safety precautions and to follow the guidance of emergency management and public safety officials, and we will continue to monitor the storm to ensure the safety of our supporters, volunteers and staff,” she said, according to a recent pool report. “On Facebook, Twitter, and BarackObama.com, supporters are being invited to donate to the Red Cross to support the relief effort.”