Gov. Rick Snyder's office on Monday disputed Hillary Clinton's claim that she successfully pressured him into asking for emergency federal funds to deal with a water crisis in Flint, Mich.
"Gov. Snyder is focused on helping the people of Flint, not politics," Dave Murray, a spokesman for Snyder, told the Washington Examiner of the eastern Michigan town's water contamination crisis.
Clinton highlighted the Flint situation Sunday by suggesting it was her own public calls to action last week that prompted the Republican governor to seek federal help for the town.
"As you may know, I appeared on a show this past week and demanded that Gov. Snyder ask for the help that Michigan needs to deal with the horrible consequences that children and their families are facing in Flint," Clinton said Sunday morning during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation." "And I saw that Gov. Snyder turned around within two hours and finally asked for the help that he should have asked for some weeks ago."
Clinton was apparently referring to her interview Thursday on the "Rachel Maddow Show" in which she accused Snyder of "refusing" to ask for federal money.
But Murray objected to that timeline.
"Gov. Snyder announced the state was coordinating with FEMA days before and [was] dealing with the crisis on Thursday, not watching political talk shows," he said. "Such comments from political candidates who are not working toward a solution to the problems only serve as a distraction from the vital work that is being accomplished."
Indeed, the Detroit News reported Monday of last week that Snyder had already begun talks with FEMA to secure federal funding for the apparent lead contamination in Flint's water supply. That was three days before Clinton's "Maddow" interview.
Clinton said Sunday she had dispatched at least one campaign aide to Flint for a meeting with the mayor.
"I started calling for immediate action, calling for federal intervention. I sent two of my top campaign aides to meet with the mayor of Flint," Clinton said Sunday morning on "Face the Nation."
But in her closing remarks at the Democratic debate later that evening, Clinton said she had only sent one aide, and that he or she was actually at the top of her staff.
"I'll tell you what, if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would've been action," Clinton said Sunday evening at the debate in Charleston, S.C. "So I sent my top campaign aide down there to talk to the mayor of Flint to see what I could do to help."
A spokesman for the Clinton campaign did not return a request for comment about who actually went to Flint and what he or she (or they) actually did to help with the crisis.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver's office was unavailable for comment Monday.
However, a Detroit News report Thursday indicated Clinton's national political director, Amanda Renteria, and a policy adviser, Mike Schmidt, met with Weaver on Wednesday. The pair of aides were already in Detroit visiting an auto show.
Murray thanked the White House Monday for granting Snyder's request to declare a state of emergency in Michigan.
"We're working to get everyone in the city faucet filters and replacement cartridges, bottled water and test kits immediately as we move forward with long-term plans to protect the health and safety of Flint residents," he said. "We appreciate the support of the White House in approving our request for an emergency declaration."