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What-a-Burger Does the State’s Job While Abbott and Patrick Tell Whoppers

Abbott’s Absence and Patrick’s Arrogance Delay Federal Aid for Texans

While Greg Abbott was wheels down on a vanity Texas taxpayer-funded junket to east Asia, he left Lt. Governor Dan Patrick as “Acting Governor” to handle Hurricane Beryl as it bore down on the Texas Gulf Coast poised to slam into the Houston metropolitan region with over 7.2 million people. Within hours of the storm landing, over 3 million homes and businesses were without power, burdening millions more individual Texans. 

Hurricanes Don’t Sneak Up on You
Beryl wasn’t a surprise to anyone. The hurricane had been tracked for two weeks moving through the Caribbean, the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and consistently predicted to hit the Texas coast as a category 1 or 2 hurricane. Abbott had plenty of time to cancel his tax-funded Asian junket or end it early in time to be in Texas and handle the important executive work needed during a natural disaster. Abbott took a pass, staying to attend elaborate ceremonies and leaving Patrick to cowboy it up in Texas.

No state agency or the power utility supplier, CenterPoint Energy, provided good up-to-date information on power outages. In fact, people in the region were consulting maps created and posted by What-a-Burger showing the power status of local franchises to get reliable information.  

Abbott Junketed While Patrick Primped
It was clear from the outset that the federal threshold of at least $54 million in public property damage would be exceeded. But Dan Patrick failed to reach out immediately to the White House to begin the process to request and receive a federal emergency declaration from President Biden to unlock millions in federal relief dollars.

Instead, Patrick wasted over a day making elaborate media appearances dramatizing the danger while failing to do the substantive but less showy work of preparing a declaration request. Even during media appearances, Patrick clearly underestimated the damage the hurricane would do and downplayed the need for federal assistance.

President Biden Stepped Up. Abbott and Patrick Delivered Whoppers
Even while he is fighting for political survival as the Democratic nominee, President Biden was clearly concerned about unnecessary delay receiving a formal request. That’s why he took the initiative to reach out first to Abbott and then to Patrick. How did Patrick and Abbott express their appreciation? They attacked Biden. Abbott had the audacity to act like Biden had an obligation to track him down in Asia. Patrick was worse. He grabbed the Biden lifeline and then engaged in shameless CYA. Patrick acted as though being in the same room with Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) workers was the same as submitting a formal emergency declaration.

Real Emergencies Expose Incompetence
Absent a real state need or emergency, Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick always talk a good game. They are top-shelf Texas boosters, but bottom drawer Texas leaders. Whether it is hurricanesdeadly winter stormshorrible mass shootings, or raging wildfires, Texas Republicans are consistently caught flat-footed – either too incompetent or too extreme and ideological to do the real work to keep Texans safe and to provide the help they need when disaster strikes. 

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