News · Press Release

#TBT To When Jason Lewis Called Hurricane Katrina Victims “Whiners”


As the Eastern seaboard prepares for its largest evacuation since Hurricane Sandy, remember that Jason Lewis believes that victims of natural disasters are “a bunch of whiners.”


On the Rush Limbaugh show in 2009, Jason Lewis declared:


“If you watch any particular news program, if you talk to any political pundit, the chattering classes inside the Beltway or any place, they think Katrina—and even the President suggested this in the last few days of his administration—was horribly handled and it was a mistake that hurt the Bush administration. And yet, if you talk to real Americans, they think the mistake was a bunch of whiners down there. They don’t think we did too little in Katrina, they think people did not help themselves.”


These remarks (as well as other offensive commentary on women) earned Jason Lewis criticism from the deputy chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, Chris Fields, earlier this year: “Provocative comments like that demonstrate ignorance, a lack of sensitivity, and they exacerbate the racial divisions in America… [they] are contradictory to the values Republicans share and principles the party was founded upon.”


While Minnesota’s Congressional delegation has a strong history of swiftly responding to natural disasters and working to support affected communities, Lewis’ past comments cast real doubt upon his ability to understand the federal government’s role in such situations. With a federal disaster declared in the 2nd District as recently as 2010, Lewis’ ignorance could represent a risk to people and property.


“Instead of apologizing for leveraging the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina as an opportunity to practice dog-whistle racism, Lewis has doubled down—standing by his history of ugly comments. More concerning yet, the outright ignorance calls into question whether Lewis could be trusted to effectively serve Minnesota’s 2nd District in the event of a natural disaster,” said Sacha Haworth of the DCCC.

Please make sure that the form field below is filled out correctly before submitting.