Tensions flared Thursday during an MSNBC segment between two former Obama administration officials over how involved the federal government should be in the coronavirus response, with former Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate eventually getting so frustrated he ripped off his microphone and stormed out of the interview.
Fugate, who headed up FEMA during Obama’s eight years in office, argued that states would need to take a leading role in response efforts.
“The myth of a single person in charge taking control and running this is a myth,” Fugate said. “This is going to be dealt with on the front lines and local and state levels, and each state is going to be addressing this unique to their systems.”
“I’ve always believed the best way the federal government can support governors is to get out of their way, get them funding, use CDC to give guidance," he continued. "As we’re running out of stuff, I’m asking, why are we not looking at idle capabilities now and governors go contract for that? Why wait for the federal government?”
Andy Slavitt, former acting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator, disagreed, saying states and the federal government would need more of a partnership.
"What your other guest is suggesting here is not helpful,” Slavitt said. “We need a great partnership between the federal and state government.”
And that’s when Fugate ripped off his mic and said he didn’t “have time to listen to bullshit people.”
I just can't quite imagine the brain that goes on tv with the plan of brosplaining emergency management to the guy who ran FEMA for Obama's entire time in the WH.— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) March 19, 2020
MSNBC's Katy Tur, Fugate, and Slavitt all responded on Twitter after the segment.
Responses from all three. pic.twitter.com/DdXUfM04q1— Emily Jashinsky (@emilyjashinsky) March 19, 2020