Michael Brown, the Federal Emergency Management Agency director during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, told The Daily Caller that people should “calm down” about the possibility of a hurricane striking Tampa, Fla., during next week’s Republican National Convention.
“The hyperbole of this thing is out of control,” said Brown, noting what he sees as alarmism from reporters “wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth.”
Brown was infamously praised by President George W. Bush during the height of post-Katrina chaos with the phrase, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” He resigned his position shortly after.
Brown said that he believes RNC event planners are doing a good job, and that FEMA needs “to have their contingency plans in effect now.”
“From the things I’ve heard from people in D.C., I think the party is doing the right thing,” Brown told TheDC. “I don’t have a gauge on whether the city is doing the right thing, because all I’m hearing is the mayor talking about rescheduling.”
Brown did not say what specifically the Republican Party is doing a good job at, but said, “I assume the RNC is sending out daily emails … just to get people thinking.”
Earlier this week Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said, “absolutely, we’re prepared to call [the convention] off.” Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll said, “safety — that’s going to be the number one priority … We can have the convention again.”
“I think the most important thing the party can do is communication,” Brown said. “The party needs to take control of the flow of information to the delegates.”
Approximately 50,000 reporters, delegates and protesters are expected to descend on Tampa for the weeklong convention, which begins on Monday, the same day the storm is projected to arrive in the area.
On Thursday, FEMA Director Craig Fugate appeared on CNN to stress the importance of generalized hurricane preparedness, rather than a localized focus on Tampa.
“Craig may be trying to say what I’m saying, ‘we kind of know some of the projection plans, where it may or may not hit,’” said Brown.
But, Brown said, “people could read that statement as ignoring the fact that we have a national special security event going on with a possible natural disaster.”