Joe Henderson: GOP Rep. Thomas Massie prolongs delay for hurricane relief

mexico beach hurricane michael
Once again, hurricane victims see politics win out over people in dire need.

When you wonder how horrible an elected official can be, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, just showed you.

On Tuesday, Massie duplicated the grandstand move by fellow GOP Congressman Chip Roy and again bottled up a $19 billion hurricane relief bill. Of course, Massie and Chipper must be feeling pretty smug about this ploy. It’s just politics to them, and it made Democrats furious.

Worse, it hurt people.

That’s never a factor though, is it?

The people hurt by this legislative prank are just collateral damage in this never-ending game. Scoring points are all that matters.

Many Republicans voted for the aid package, by the way. President Trump endorsed the bill. But a couple of humanity’s outliers decided to throw a legislative tantrum.

Here’s something to keep in mind about Mr. Massie. reported that in 2015, he had an estimated net worth of $2.6 million. I doubt he knows what it’s like to have everything he owns flattened by the most powerful hurricane to make U.S. landfall since 1992. He is quite fortunate.

The good people of Florida’s Panhandle have spent about eight months trying to recover a piece of normal after Hurricane Michael devastated their lives.

Uncaring louts like Massie and Roy don’t see people in all of this, though. They only see headlines and a chance to spread more fertilizer in the name of draining the swamp.

By the way, Thomas Massie also is a skeptic about climate change. Perhaps he would like to visit Mexico Beach and explain to the people living in FEMA trailers that it’s all a hoax.

Massie was ridiculed after an exchange on climate with John Kerry last month. Massie tried to say that because Kerry’s college degree is a Bachelor of Arts, he wasn’t qualified to talk about science.


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, called Massie’s stunt “repulsive.”

Of course, Massie and those backslappers in his tribe won’t care about that. After all, she’s in the other political party.

But she nailed it anyway.

“Natural disasters have mercilessly ravaged so many American communities, but instead of providing swift relief, Republicans again today offered only prolonged misery,” she said in a statement released by her office.

“ … House Republicans are obstructing critical assistance from reaching our neighbors in need. This prolonged negligence of governance is repulsive.”

This might be a good time to mention the amount of federal aid Kentucky regularly receives. According to a Pew study, more than 41 percent of the state’s budget in 2016 came from the federal government. That’s about 8 percent higher than the 50-state average.

The irony of that won’t penetrate the force field that surrounds people like Massie. They see themselves as crusaders. Their mission is to destroy a system they despise and replace with a Libertarian ideal where everyone basically is on their own.

It would never occur to Massie to care about the suffering he just helped to prolong.

Eventually, this aid package will get through — maybe.

But in drawing it out the way they have, these Republican representatives put politics over people. Sleep well tonight, Thomas Massie.

Better yet, don’t.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


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