Throwback Thursday, Special Extra Edition: On Hurricane Preparedness Week, A Retrospective On Disasters Mismanaged by Republicans

AUSTIN, Texas — This week marks Hurricane Preparedness Week in the U.S. — a chance for people living in hurricane-prone regions to put preparations in place and be as ready as possible for the next storm. In Texas, however, Republican mismanagement of numerous catastrophes — from Hurricane Harvey to February’s winter storm — continues to be cause for concern. Republicans’ failed track record on disaster response continues to show Texas Republicans for the public safety threat they are, painting their slogan “We are the Storm” in both an ironic and alarming light.

In this special extra edition of Throwback Thursday, we’re cataloguing key disaster response moments where Republicans have failed Texans abysmally, including:

Hurricane Harvey. Texans lost everything during the disaster, which killed more than 100 people and caused more than $125 billion in damage. However, from preparedness to recovery, Republican leadership was nowhere in sight. Disgraced Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick left local officials in the lurch after Harvey, denying vital recovery funding to Houston.

COVID-19. From day one, Abbott refused to take the pandemic seriously and take adequate safety measures to protect Texans — and nearly 51,000 Texans are dead because of it. Meanwhile, indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton sued cities that took measures to protect residents, and useless Texas Senator John Cornyn used the pandemic to fan the flames of racism. And let’s not forget that for months, Texas Republicans sat on upwards of $30 billion in federal COVID-19 relief for Texas schools and communities, rather than sending it out to Texans.

February’s winter storm. This week marks three months since Abbott received warnings about the winter storm and the potential for mass power outages — and did exactly nothing in response. He presided over a disaster that killed nearly 200 Texans, including through the worst mass carbon monoxide poisoning in U.S. history. Months later, Republican legislators have done nothing to pass legislation to weatherize the grid and prevent future disasters — nor to help Texans shoulder the high costs that emerged from the storm. With Texas Republicans in charge, it is lamentably only a matter of time until we find ourselves facing another mass power outage disaster.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“Texas Republicans are the worst public safety threat to our state. Greg Abbott failed to respond to the pandemic, stuck his head in the sand during the winter storm and is still leaving Texans to shoulder the costs, and has shown exactly zero leadership to make sure a disaster like this doesn’t happen again. And instead of responding to these incredibly pressing issues, Republicans in our legislature are spending time attacking voting rights, putting trans kids in danger, and gutting gun safety laws — all measures that will further harm Texans.

“With Republicans at the helm, it’s only a matter of time until the next disaster strikes again — leaving Texans to fend for themselves once again. However, with that track record, the GOP’s days in power are numbered. The growing Texas majority will vote Republicans out in 2022, and Democrats will continue working day and night to help make that happen. We will continue fighting for Texas families, and working to give Texans the leadership they need and deserve.”