‘That Is Not What He Said’: CNN Host Accuses Mayor Of Dodging Criticism After County Exec Slams Him For Storm Response

[Screenshot CNN]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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CNN’s Poppy Harlow pressed Democratic Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on Thursday after he appeared to dodge criticism over his handling of the deadly snow storm.

An arctic blizzard struck North America over Christmas weekend, killing 38 people in U.S. and Canada as of Monday. Buffalo was hit especially hard, with dozens dead. More than 30,000 residents lost power during the storm.

“Mayor, you have seen and heard the criticism of your office’s handling of this storm,” Harlow said. “The Erie County Commissioner Mark Poloncarz said yesterday he’s disappointed. He says your office has not been on these daily coordination calls with other municipalities about the response.”

Harlow then played a clip from Poloncarz in which he said he was “sick of” the city not being opened fast enough.

“Mayor, are you satisfied with your personal and your office’s response to this deadly storm since last Thursday?” Harlow asked.

“I’m not going to pay attention to that. My focus is on the people of Buffalo. My focus is on making sure that people have the medical emergency services that they need, making sure that every home that was without power, has the power restored. And making sure that streets that were pummeled with snow and record wind gusts are open so that people can begin to resume their normal daily lives. That’s my focus,” Brown said.

“I’m going to focus on-”

“That’s-” Harlow tried to interject.

“Moving the city forward,” Brown continued.

“But mayor, that’s not what he said. Why – why are you not going to focus on what not only one of your residents but also the man who is the [executive] of the county said about what they are having to do, he said, to step in where he believes your office has failed?” (RELATED: Fed-Up Armed Local Defends Buffalo Neighborhood From Looters)

“He’s wrong,” Brown said. “People have operated since Friday, working around the clock on little sleep. And I’m not going to focus on negativity. I’m going to focus on positivity and working together. That’s what the residents demand of us. They don’t want-”

“Except Mayor, except mayor we learn, we learn from mistakes and failures and the county executive, Mark Poloncarz, has admitted his mistakes,” Harlow said, noting Poloncarz admitted the travel ban should’ve been instituted earlier. “Do you need to do things differently going forward for the next storm?”

“You know what? It’s horrific,” Brown said. “We will continue to improve, we will continue to work to do better. But hysterics from leaders is not what the public is looking for.”

Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul deployed 100 National Guard police officers and additional state troopers Tuesday to enforce a driving ban in the city.