Republican Senator Calls Harry Reid An ‘Idiot’ For Saying Hurricane Sandy Was Worse Than Katrina — Reid Apologizes

Sen. David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana, blasted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and called him an “idiot” for comparing the scopes of Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina on the Senate floor last week.

“Sadly, Harry Reid has again revealed himself to be an idiot, this time gravely insulting Gulf Coast residents,” Vitter said in a statement. “Both Katrina and Sandy were horribly destructive storms that caused real human misery. And by most any measure, Katrina was our worst natural disaster in history.”

David Vitter

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On the Senate floor last Friday, Reid said the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was “nothing in comparison” to that of Hurricane Sandy. He urged the Senate to pass a $9.7 billion bill to expand funding of the National  Flood Insurance Program. The Senate passed the bill, and President Barack Obama signed it into law Sunday.

Here are Reid’s relevant comments:

I really do believe it is important that I have the record reflect the reason we have gotten as far as we have on Sandy is because of the senior Senator from New York. It is too bad that it has taken so long. When we had that devastation from Katrina, we were there within days taking care of Mississippi, Alabama, and especially Louisiana—within days. We are now past 2 months with the people of New York and New Jersey.

The people of New Orleans and that area, they were hurt but nothing in comparison to what happened to the people in New York and New Jersey. Almost 1 million people have lost their homes; 1 million people lost their homes. That is homes, that is not people in those homes. So I think it is just unfortunate that we do not have the relief for New York and New Jersey and the rest already. It has to be done. We have to meet the needs of the American people when an act of God occurs.

UPDATE (3:05 p.m.): Reid has apologized for the remarks, saying in a statement he “simply misspoke.”

Here’s the full statement:

“In my recent comments criticising House Republicans for threatening to betray Congress’ tradition of providing aid to disaster victims in a timely fashion regardless of region, I simply misspoke. I am proud to have been an advocate for disaster victims in the face of Republican foot-dragging, from Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Sandy, from fires in the west to tornadoes in the Midwest. I have worked hard with Senator Landrieu to ensure that the people of the Gulf Coast have the resources they need to fully recover, and I will continue to advocate on their behalf until the region is fully recovered.”