Governor Rick Scott of Florida says the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was wrong to deny his state emergency funds requested in the wake of the Orlando terror attack. FEMA denied the Governor’s request for $5 million in emergency funds Monday. The letter denying the funds reads in part:
Because your request did not demonstrate how the emergency response associated with this situation is beyond the capability of the state and affected local governments or identify any direct federal assistance needed to save lives or protect property, an emergency declaration is not appropriate for this incident.
Speaking to reporters after a National Guard deployment ceremony Tuesday, Gov. Scott said of the decision, “Firstly, I was shocked. If you look at the fact that things they’ve approved in the past, if you look at that it makes no sense to me why they wouldn’t approve this. I mean this is clearly an attack on our nation.” Scott went on to say he planned to appeal the decision because “it’s wrong.”
Yesterday, the Governor published a response to the decision on his website:
“It is incredibly disappointing that the Obama Administration denied our request for an Emergency Declaration. Last week, a terrorist killed 49 people, and wounded many others, which was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. It is unthinkable that President Obama does not define this as an emergency. We are committing every state resource possible to help the victims and the community heal and we expect the same from the federal government.”
A spokesman for Gov. Scott cited an emergency declaration after the Boston Marathon bombing as precedent for the request. The NY Times reports, “Spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said Tuesday that Scott doesn’t understand why the request was denied, adding that an emergency was declared for the Boston Marathon bombing.” FEMA argues most governors don’t request emergency funds after a mass shooting incident.
The backdrop to this squabble is the fact that President Obama and Governor Scott seem to not be too fond of one another. Gov. Scott has been a frequent critic of the president, including in the wake of the Orlando attack. He told Fox News last week that the president had not made a condolence call to the Governor in the wake of the attack.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was in Orlando Tuesday to meet with families of the victims, announced the Department of Justice would make $1 million in emergency funding to cover costs associated with the case: