CHARTER OAK, IA (WAFB) - During a townhall meeting Thursday (Mar. 21), Iowa Rep. Steve King noted a contrast between the victims of recent flooding in the Midwest and victims of Hurricane Katrina.
In an hour-long live stream posted to his Facebook page, the congressman recalls “breaking some rules” and visiting New Orleans during the post-Katrina disaster to help the victims.
"We go to a place like New Orleans, and everybody’s looking around saying, ‘Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to help me?’” King said, recounting what he said officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), had told him about the relief effort.
King compared the reaction of New Orleans flood victims to the victims in his home state, saying Iowans took care of each other and were willing to put on boots even in times of despair and help each other without government handouts. He says that’s “how Iowans take care of each other.”
“We go to a place like Iowa, and we go see, knock on the door at, say, I make up a name, John’s place, and say, ‘John, you got water in your basement, we can write you a check, we can help you,'" King said. “And John will say, ‘Well, wait a minute, let me get my boots. It’s Joe that needs help. Let’s go down to his place and help him.’”
King said FEMA officials are “gratified when they come and see how Iowans take care of each other.”
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called the congressman’s remarks “disgusting and disheartening” in a tweet Thursday evening.
“When communities are affected by disasters, we come together to help each other, not tear each other down,” Edwards wrote.
Category 5 Hurricane Katrina claimed the lives of over 1,800 people in August of 2005.