Red Cross had to divert staff to deal with Romney’s phony “relief effort”

Please Ignore the Black Man on the T-shirts

As we warned earlier, because the Romney campaign preferred a political stunt to actually helping Hurricane Sandy victims, the Red Cross is now busy wasting valuable resources processing donations from the Romney campaign that its own Web site admits it does not want.

As you’ll recall, Mitt Romney, after promising not to campaign today, campaigned anyway.  And to add insult to injury, he used the pretense of Hurricane Sandy to hold campaign events wrapped in a cloak of “storm relief.”

Not surprisingly, Romney then turned his “relief” events today into what the campaign called “victory rallies,” including a Romney campaign propaganda video and the distribution of t-shirts saying “Obama, You’re Fired!”  Here is a tweet from CNN’s Jonathan Karl:

Note that that woman must have gotten that
Obama t-shirt at the non-partisan disaster relief rally.

So it’s abundantly clear what kind of non-partisan event this was.  In fact, Mitt Romney used the suffering of millions of Americans as a shield to fend off criticism that this was a political event.  But it was a political event, as countless reporters attested.  (And it was more than a shield.  He used people.  He used their suffering to advance his own ambition. And he got caught.)

Here’s Something You Said You Don’t Want, Hope You Like It

The other way that Romney attempted to camouflage his campaign event as a “relief effort” was by, yet again, asking people to bring donations of supplies that the Red Cross has said repeatedly it does not want, and in fact, they’ve said it will impede hurricane relief efforts.

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.

And that’s what happened as a result of Mitt Romney’s little hurricane stunt earlier today. We learn via a tweet from CNN’s Jim Acosta that the Red Cross is now having to spend staff time dealing with the collected food and other items the Romney campaign gathered today:

Red Cross Romney

From CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta.

Here’s the longer Red Cross statement. Read it, then let’s talk about the criticism of Romney buried between the lines:

“The American Red Cross appreciates the support from the Romney campaign and is working with the campaign to process this donation of supplies,” the statement read. “We are grateful that both the Obama and Romney campaigns have also encouraged the public to send financial donations to the Red Cross. We encourage individuals who want to help to consider making a financial donation or making an appointment to give blood.”

Note that last line: “We encourage individuals who want to help to consider making a financial donation or making an appointment to give blood.”  That’s the equivalent of your grandma saying “thank you so much for the inflatable Elvis doll, honey, and I encourage anyone else wanting to get me a birthday gift next year to try something I can actually use.”

Forget About You, What About Me?

The Red Cross outright told anyone else doing what Romney did today, to collect financial donations or blood – not supplies.  It was a subtle rebuke to the Romney campaign, and an effort by the Red Cross to undo the damage Romney has already done in sending the message to the American people that the Red Cross needs us to donate food, when they don’t, and it will actually hurt their relief efforts by diverting necessary manpower.

And that is exactly what happened today, now that the Red Cross is having to “work with the Romney campaign to process this donation of supplies,” instead of focusing on the actual victims of Hurricane Sandy who need their help in the eastern United States.

Like the catfish that Mitt Romney flip-flopped on earlier this year, Mitt Romney will jump on whatever he can get, not matter how distasteful.


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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