Trump Administration Just Denied North Carolina's Desperate Plea for Help

May 12th 2017

Mike Rothschild

The Trump administration has denied the vast majority of North Carolina's request for disaster relief in the wake of the devastation left behind by Hurricane Matthew in October, with a number of people on social media quick to point out the irony of a Trump-supporting red state being left in the lurch by the president they elected.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper asked the federal government for $929 million to speed the state's recovery and rebuilding from the storm that killed 47 people in the United States, according to local news sources.


Instead, Cooper got just $6.1 million in federal funds - less than 1 percent of what he requested.

Trump and the Republican Congress vastly truncated the budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which assesses and meets unmet disaster needs, in addition to the needs of other nearby states also recovering from the hurricane was likely behind the slight in funds allocated to North Carolina.

Cooper had worked with North Carolina representatives on both sides of the aisle to craft the request, hoping to continue the cleanup and repair from a storm that did almost $5 billion in damage to the state. The money, Cooper said, was urgently needed to help rebuild homes and businesses, elevate properties that could flood in a future storm, supplement income for farmers who lost land, and bolster health and social services for survivors.

People on Twitter held no punches with reactions to the news:




But to Cooper, the blame lands squarely on the Trump administration itself, rather than the people who put him in office.

"Families across Eastern North Carolina need help to rebuild and recover, and it is an incredible failure by the Trump Administration and Congressional leaders to turn their backs,” Cooper said in a statement. “North Carolinians affected by this storm cannot be ignored by the Trump Administration and Congressional leadership."

North Carolina's snub isn't even the first time the Trump administration has refused disaster relief funds to a state in need. The same day North Carolina's request was drastically under-realized, the administration denied a request by Pennsylvania for $7 million in funds to recover from a massive snowstorm in March.



"This disaster declaration would have provided much-needed financial assistance to hard-hit communities in northeastern Pennsylvania," Gov. Tom Wolf said in a written statement.

Trump was also criticized for his slow response to a series of storms in the South shortly after he took office, with governors in Mississippi and Georgia having to practically beg for disaster relief funds and attention from the administration.



Beyond that, there are concerns that the administration's cuts to HUD, as well as proposed cuts to FEMA's disaster response budget, might leave the country unable to handle another major natural disaster. The Natural Resources Defense Council said the proposed cuts "would severely undermine FEMA’s effectiveness" and Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree called them "reckless and illiogical."

It should be noted that the administration has responded to a number of requests for disaster relief, including a major one from California for help recovering from the Oroville Dam spill in February.