Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is expressing surprise that President Obama broke the promise he made that he “would be there for us” shortly after the tragic deaths of the 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill Fire. On Friday, FEMA rejected Arizona’s request for fire recovery assistance.
On Tuesday, the Governor was excited about Obama’s visit to Arizona, hoping to ask him for assistance with the victims of the fire and remediation of the land. Recently, Brewer ignored the wishes of her own Party and pushed Obama’s healthcare expansion program, which many speculated would serve her in good stead with the President.
Almost immediately after the visit, Brewer once again attacked the President and complained that he was stealing credit for what she called the “Arizona Comeback,” saying that he was “trying to share credit for Arizona’s housing and economic recovery. That credit belongs to the hardworking people of Arizona.”
The Governor surprised many herself however, when she said that she was “disappointed that the President used his visit as an opportunity to lay out a plan for even more big government programs.” The Medicaid expansion she pushed through the Legislature is one of the largest expansions of a government program in Arizona’s history.
By Friday, when asked what she would have said to President Barack Obama upon receiving news of the rejections, she told the Phoenix area radio listening audience of News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos, “You promised me you would be there for us when you called me before the memorial services were held and I felt confident that we would get the benefit of our federal government stepping up to help us.”
Brewer denied FEMA’s claim that money had already disbursed to assist with firefighting costs. She said, “It’s not just the fire, it’s the recovery. That whole area needs to be reseeded and drained and the rains will come and those communities will be flooded. A disaster is what the federal government is for; those things that we can’t do for ourselves,” she said, adding that “Arizona has money to aid Yarnell residents, but not enough to address the needs of each person affected.” reported KTAR.
Arizona State Speaker of the House, Andrew Tobin, who has watched Brewer play her own brand of nasty politics with Republicans this year, told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos the decision was politically motivated.
Brewer, not known for her ability to play fair, said she didn’t believe the administration’s decision was political. “I don’t think anybody would damage that number of people because of politics. I mean, they have a responsibility.” said Brewer. “Bottom line is, when certain things happen, no matter who it happens to, you don’t play politics.”
Not relying on the Governor’s ability to play hard ball politics, Speaker Tobin, last week, called for the Legislature to develop legislation to provide full benefits to the families of the fallen firefighters .
KTAR reported that Brewer said she was disappointed in the president’s speech on Tuesday calling it a “campaign-style” speech that was politically strategic.
Brewer said she believed the President knew at the time of his visit that he was going to reject Arizona’s request.