Today, President Trump is traveling to Cedar Rapids as part of a weeklong campaign swing to attend a disaster recovery briefing. This is a hollow political ploy after Trump ignored Iowans in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Trump did not issue a Presidential Disaster declaration until a week after the derecho hit Iowa, leaving Iowans without shelter and power during the ongoing pandemic.
- Yesterday, Trump approved just $45 million of the $4 billion in federal funding Governor Reynolds’ requested — a fraction of what is needed for storm recovery. Trump did not yet approve Gov. Reynolds’ request for:
- $82.7 million to cover the 8,273 homes that were damaged or destroyed
- $3.77 billion for agriculture damage to farmland, grain bins and buildings
- $100 million for private utilities repair.
- The governor’s team said FEMA is still assessing damage, and the assistance for individuals and households will be approved “soon.” But how long must Iowans wait to have their homes and livelihoods repaired during a pandemic?
- The derecho hit Iowa farmers who are already hurting from Trump’s trade policies, ongoing drought conditions, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The derecho destroyed or extensively damaged 8,200 homes and 13 million acres of corn, about a third of the state’s crop land. The crop damages will have a lasting economic impact on already struggling farming communities.
- Climate change is threatening minority communities health and well-being in Iowa. Extreme heat and/or storm events impact them at considerably higher rates, due to their limited access to healthcare. A survey done in 2010 identified significant health disparities for minority children in Iowa, especially African American and Hispanic/Latino children as compared to White and Asian and Pacific Islanders children in the state.
The visit to Iowa comes as Trump is vigorously campaigning as polls show him trailing Biden nationally.