Romney campaign “hindering” and “impeding” Hurricane Sandy relief

UPDATE: Mitt Romney continues to interfere with Hurricane Sandy response in an effort to use Sandy as an “opportunity” to bolster his presidential bona fides.

.@andreamsaul: Gov. Romney has also been in touch with [VA] Governors Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie about storm preparation

Coming on the heels of the Romney campaign apparently confirming Mitt Romney’s earlier promise to shut down FEMA and move its duties to the states, the news that Team Romney’s token “hurricane relief” effort is making things worse for disaster relief agencies is yet another example of how everything Mitt Romney touches – even disasters – end up a disaster.

Yesterday we learned via ABC’s Emily Friedman that Romney campaign was pitching in and gathering supplies to donate for hurricane relief:

Romney hurricane relief

All well and good except, of course, that it’s the opposite of what disaster relief experts advise you to do.  In fact, they warn that such efforts actually “hinder” relief.  Had the Romney campaign bothered reading the Red Cross Web site to see WHAT was needed, or even simply asked someone at the Red Cross,they’d have known this.

And I quote from the Red Cross Web site:

Unfortunately, due to logistical constraints the Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items. Items such as collected food, used clothing and shoes must be sorted, cleaned, repackaged and transported which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel.

It “impedes” relief efforts, it doesn’t help.  The Red Cross prefers money because it’s far easier to handle, and can be spent where it’s most needed and on what is most needed.

Why didn’t the Romney campaign contact the Red Cross?  Unless their goal was not to actually help people affected by Hurricane Sandy, but rather to use yet another national tragedy as an “opportunity.”

There’s that devastating word again: “opportunity.”

A real life example of good intentions gone wrong: The Joplin, MO tornado of May 22, 2011.

Look at what the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, under Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, had to say about the damage caused by people donating goods instead of money:

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has been asked to spread the word that unsolicited goods and volunteers are hindering the effectiveness of response and recovery efforts in Joplin, Missouri.

Emergency responders in Missouri say that critical resources and personnel in the affected area are being redirected from the important work of response and relief to managing what has become a deluge of unneeded donated items and independent volunteers.

The single best way to help disaster survivors is with a cash donation to a legitimate relief agency, such as the American Red Cross, operating in the area.

And putting aside for a moment the Romney campaign’s intent, they botched it either way.  During a national crisis the Romney campaign didn’t have its act together enough to avoid sending the wrong signal to the American people.  They sent the message that Americans should collect relief supplies, and that message will now hinder Hurricane Sandy relief.

He just had to stick his nose in it, as always.

These people are dangerous as candidates.  Imagine what they’d do if they had any power.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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