New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell had a clear message for US Rep. Steve King after he insulted the victims of Hurricane Katrina during a town hall meeting Thursday night.
"The people of New Orleans know who we are. We know what we did for each other in the weeks after the storm, and on every day after. I don’t know where Rep. King was when I was standing shoulder to shoulder with my neighbors fighting to bring our community back— but I know who was there helping, and we all know who wasn’t," she said in a statement released Friday afternoon.
During the meeting, King cited Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans as an example of bad disaster victims when compared to his own constituents in Iowa. King said New Orleans residents were more interested in what the government could do for them than helping each other in the storm's aftermath.
"I’ve worked with FEMA people for a long time, by the way, I made four trips to Katrina in New Orleans -- I was the first member of Congress to go in there," King said. "Here’s what FEMA tells me: We go to a place like New Orleans and everyone's looking around saying 'Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to help me?' We go to a place like Iowa and we go knock on the door (I’ll make up a name) John’s place and say 'John, have you got water in your basement? We can write you a check. We can help you.' 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."
Louisiana leaders from both sides of the aisle have come forward in the less than 24 hours since King's comments to condemn them.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called the comments "disgusting and disheartening."
"When communities are affected by disasters, we come together to help each other, not tear each other down," Edwards said.
Rep. Steve Scalise called King's remarks "absurd and offensive" and "a complete contradiction to the strength and resilience the people of New Orleans demonstrated to the entire nation in the wake of the total devastation they experienced."