Republican congressman Todd Akin of Missouri stirred up controversy again yesterday by claiming that Hurricane Sandy, which struck parts of the Atlantic Coast this week, did not “legitimately ravage” the Eastern Seaboard as has been widely reported.
During an interview with KTVI-TV in St. Louis, the U.S. Senate candidate remarked, “Well, you know, this is one of those things, it’s kind of a tough ethical question. From what I understand, from scientists and climatologists, is that this kind of destruction is very rare. If it were legitimately ravaged, the cities and towns and such have ways to shut the whole [storm] down.”
Akin went on to state that he did not believe that communities damaged by the storm should be razed. “Well let’s assume that it didn’t work, the natural defense mechanism. I think there should be some kind of punishment. But we should punish the storm, not the mangled houses and flooded streets.”
The comments sparked a controversy from storm victims and politicians alike, who were upset at the suggestion that the Atlantic Coast was somehow asking for it. “I don’t know who he thinks he is or what he thinks he knows, but I’d like him to come here and have a look and judge for himself what’s legitimate,” said Sandy Hook, NJ resident Steven Hoyt. “If I could have ‘shut the whole thing down,’ I would have.”
Akin later apologized for the comments but has stated he will remain in the Senate race.