September 14, 2005

While Thousands Awaited Rescue, Democratic Congressman Used National Guard Troops To Visit His Home

ABC News reports that Congressman William Jefferson (Democrat) "used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftop". In fact, two heavy trucks and a helicopter were used in the effort:

Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned.

On Sept. 2 — five days after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast — Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who represents New Orleans and is a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, was allowed through the military blockades set up around the city to reach the Superdome, where thousands of evacuees had been taken.
Military sources tells ABC News that Jefferson, an eight-term Democratic congressman, asked the National Guard that night to take him on a tour of the flooded portions of his congressional district. A 5-ton military truck and a half dozen military police were dispatched. Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News that during the tour, Jefferson asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street, in the affluent uptown neighborhood in his congressional district. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson's initial request.

Jefferson defended the expedition, saying he set out to see how residents were coping at the Superdome and in his neighborhood. He also insisted that he did not ask the National Guard to transport him. "I did not seek the use of military assets to help me get around my city," Jefferson told ABC News. "There was shooting going on. There was sniping going on. They thought I should be escorted by some military guards, both to the convention center, the Superdome and uptown."

The water reached to the third step of Jefferson's house, a military source familiar with the incident told ABC News, and the vehicle pulled up onto Jefferson's front lawn so he wouldn't have to walk in the water. Jefferson went into the house alone, the source says, while the soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour. Finally, according to the source, Jefferson emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck.

"I don't think there is any explanation for an elected official using resources for their own personal use, when those resources should be doing search and rescue, or they should be helping with law enforcement in the city," said Jerry Hauer, a homeland security expert and ABC News consultant.

The Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News the truck became stuck as it waited for Jefferson to retrieve his belongings. Two weeks later, the vehicle's tire tracks were still visible on the lawn. The soldiers signaled to helicopters in the air for aid. Military sources say a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the signal and flew to Jefferson's home. The chopper was already carrying four rescued New Orleans residents at the time. A rescue diver descended from the helicopter, but the congressman decided against going up in the helicopter, sources say. The pilot sent the diver down again, but Jefferson again declined to go up the helicopter.

After spending approximately 45 minutes with Jefferson, the helicopter went on to rescue three additional New Orleans residents before it ran low on fuel and was forced to end its mission. "Forty-five minutes can be an eternity to somebody that is drowning, to somebody that is sitting in a roof, and it needs to be used its primary purpose during an emergency," said Hauer.

So, while hundreds of people were dying or in danger of drowning, this self-important asshole decided that it was more important to delay rescue efforts so that he could make sure his personal possessions were protected.

Americans should remember Congressman Jefferson the next time any Democrat decides to lecture us on how Democratic politicians are the only politicians who look out for the people. Americans should remember Congressman Jefferson the next time any Democrat attempts to pin all the blame for rescue efforts on the Republican administration.

Moreover, since Hurricane Katrina, we have listened to African-American politicians and celebrities loudly proclaim that many people were not rescued (or rescue efforts were too slow) because they were African-American (i.e., rescue efforts were racist). Other non-African-American celebrities and pundits were more than willing to agree ("If it was a bunch on white people on roofs in the Hamptons, I don’t have any f[bleep]ing doubt there would have been every single helicopter, every plane, every single means that the government has to help these people." Colin Farrell). Well, Congressman Jefferson, who is African-American, would seem to put a hole in that theory. Clearly, the National Guard went above and beyond the call of duty to rescue him and his property....

Here is a picture of the jerk:

For others blogging on this subject, see: The Anchoress; Instapundit; Captain's Quarters; LogCabinGuyinLA; Rockin Rod's Rants; The English Guy; Hard Starboard; Grendel's Dragon; Objective Justice;

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