Hillary Clinton Made an Important Point About Flint in the 4th Democratic Debate

Hillary Clinton Made an Important Point About Flint in the 4th Democratic Debate
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The Democratic contenders for president tore into Michigan's governor over the devastating tainted-water crisis in Flint, Michigan Sunday night, saying the tragedy would never have been allowed to spiral out of control in an upscale, white community.

"I spent a lot of time last week being outraged by what's happening in Flint, Michigan, and I think every single American should be outraged," former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton railed during the primetime Democratic showdown.

"We've had a city in the United States of America where the population, which is poor in many ways, and majority African-American, has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water — and the governor of that state acted as though he didn't really care," she said.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has come under withering criticism for the state's handling of the situation in Flint, with his administration just recently taking drastic action to address the contamination of the city's water supply after knowing about the problem for months.

"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 have been action."

Source: Mic/NBC News

"I sent my top campaign aide down there to talk to the mayor of Flint, to be see what i could do to help, and I issued a statement about what we needed to do, and then I went on a TV show and I said it was outrageous that the governor hadn't acted," Clinton said at the NBC News-sponsored debate in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders echoed the outrage. 

"Secretary Clinton was right, and what I did was, which I think is also right, is to demand the resignation of the governor," he said. "A man who acts irresponsibly should not stay in power."

As Mic has reported, Michigan officials told the people of Flint their visibly contaminated water was safe to drink after the supply was switched from the Detroit system to the Flint River.

As a result of their exposure to toxic levels of lead, the children of Flint may have suffered irreversible brain damage. Snyder and the state are now defendants in a class-action lawsuit.

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Celeste Katz

Celeste Katz is senior political correspondent at Mic, covering national politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at celeste@mic.com.

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