The best-known — and by far the most controversial — former federal emergency chief warned President Trump Monday to "make sure the national media understands everything you're doing" in responding to Hurricane Harvey.
"Failure to fully bring on board the media — and that means CNN and anyone who may hate [Trump's] guts — will result in big trouble for the president, even if he does everything right in disaster relief," Michael Brown, onetime Federal Emergency Management Administration chief, told Newsmax.
Now a successful radio talk show host in suburban Denver, Brown is best remembered for his controversial oversight of disaster relief during Hurricane Katrina in 2015.
Widely criticized in the press and removed from his relief duties by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Brown resigned from his office on Sept. 12, 2005 — two weeks after Katrina was declared an "incident of national significance."
In discussing the need for Trump to keep the national media involved in the government's disaster relief program during Harvey, Brown recalled how "Anderson Cooper and CNN wanted to accompany us on a rescue mission in New Orleans. I said no and told Anderson we needed the three seats that he and his crew would occupy to rescue the people whose house was flooded."
As it turned out, Brown said, "Anderson and his crew hijacked their own boat and freelanced a rescue of their own that they filmed. And then he went on the air to say, 'See? We had to do the rescuing. FEMA wasn't doing their job.'"
The former FEMA boss underscored that Trump's disaster force "has to accommodate the media at every step of relief, bring them into everything they’re doing to rescue people from Harvey. And I emphasize — this includes all the media the president loathes and which loathes him."
Brown is, of course, best remembered for the much-mocked TV news clip of President George W. Bush telling him: "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job." (Brown later told me, "You know how many people ever called me 'Brownie' in my whole life?" and then held up one finger.)
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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