On his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck baselessly claimed that as Hurricane Katrina approached the Gulf Coast, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin did not order an evacuation until "the day after President Bush called him and told him" to. However, news reports indicate that it was Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, not Nagin, who was called by Bush and that Nagin ordered the evacuation the same day that phone call reportedly occurred.
On the August 28 edition of his CNN Headline News program, host Glenn Beck baselessly claimed that as Hurricane Katrina approached the Gulf Coast in August 2005, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin did not order an evacuation until "the day after President Bush called him and told him" to. But news reports indicate, first, that Bush called Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, not Nagin, and, second, that Nagin ordered the evacuation the same day that phone call reportedly occurred.
As Media Matters for America has noted, news reports shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit the region on August 29, 2005, indicate that Bush called Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco -- not Nagin -- on the morning of August 28, 2005, about the need for evacuation. According to a September 15 New York Times report on former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael D. Brown's version of events, on the morning of August 28, Brown and President Bush discussed the possibility of Bush's approaching Nagin about a mandatory evacuation, but Nagin decided "apparently on his own," according to the Times, to announce the mandatory evacuation in a press conference that day, not the day after, as Beck claimed. Blanco stated during the press conference that "just before" it began, Bush had called her to ensure that such precautions would be taken -- casting further doubt on the suggestion that Bush's phone call triggered the decision to evacuate.
Beck accused Nagin of ignoring Bush's evacuation request during a segment in which he vowed to "speak frankly about the politics of Katrina." Beck bemoaned that while Hurricane Katrina is "one of the worst disasters in this country's history," the "whole thing has become about politics and politicians." But the only politician Beck criticized during the segment was Nagin, of whom he claimed to be "so sick and tired."
From the August 28 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: But, first: Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst disasters in this country -- in this country's history, the death and devastation, absolutely heartbreaking. But I want to have a discussion with you that I haven't seen anyone else say on television. And that is how this whole thing has become about politics and politicians.
With that being said, as we remember the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, let's speak frankly about the politics of Katrina. I, for one, am so sick and tired of Ray Nagin and the adventures of chocolate city.
By the way, buckle up. Gonna to be one of the more un-P.C. things that I say tonight. That's just really a beginning.
I hate to break it to -- to you, New Orleans, but you weren't the only city affected by Katrina, or by George Bush trying to drown you that day, as Louis Farrakhan thinks. The entire Gulf Coast was devastated. Houston is still feeling the effects of it.
I've got a few questions. Why is it that New Orleans, which is run by some of the most inept public officials I've ever seen, how come New Orleans can cry, "poor us," when everybody else has started rebuilding?
Last year, Ray Nagin was sittin' on his couch at home on a Sunday, I don't know, eating Pop Tarts, after he got a frantic call from the weather bureau, saying "Ray, you got to get your people out of there." Only then did he finally put the Pop Tarts down. That was the day after President Bush called him and told him the same thing.
I want you to know, I -- I love New Orleans. New Orleans is one of our -- our great American cities. The jazz is nice. The food's good. It's got a real unique feel to it. But let's be honest. Why are we spending billions of dollars to rebuild a city below sea level?