In case you missed ’em—here’s what the newsmakers said on the Sunday morning talk shows.
FEMA Admin: “All-government Effort” Needed After Ian
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell made the Sunday show rounds in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which is shaping up as one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the U.S.
On CNN’s State of the Union Criswell said, “This is going to be an all-government response and recovery effort, and it’s going to be all of society bringing together all of our partners to help these people, to help all of these families get on the road to recovery.”
When asked by anchor Dana Bash whether it wouldn’t be less costly to relocate people “rather than to rebuild in places that could get destroyed again,” Criswell replied that it’s not about relocating so much as making sure that when homes are rebuilt, “we are at least rebuilding with the current building codes that are going to protect and reduce the impacts of the storms.” She added, “We could see some new construction that withheld very well in some parts of the state.”
Florida Senators Put Aside Politics for Storm Help
Florida’s two Republican Senators also appeared on a handful of shows, and both put politics aside when it came to characterizing the Democratic White House’s hurricane response.
“FEMA has been a great partner. The Biden Administration has responded as they’ve said and so there’s no complaints there,” Sen. Marco Rubio said on State of the Union, adding, “I think in times like these people realize that it’s not about politics. It shouldn’t be.”
Sen. Rick Scott said on CBS’ Face the Nation, “I’m very supportive of FEMA. My experience with FEMA when I was governor is they did their job. They were a good partner.”
On FOX News Sunday, Administrator Criswell said her organization had “pre-positioned the largest amount of search and rescue assets that I think we’ve ever put in place” before the storm made landfall, including FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams, the Coast Guard, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Defense. “But this is just to complement the already robust capability that Florida already had in place,” she added.
Cyber Expert: Election Likely Won’t Be Disrupted
On Face the Nation former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs said he didn’t expect the midterms to be disrupted by Hurricane Ian, despite the storm having struck just a little more than a month before Election Day.
“There are rules and systems in place that allow for some flexibility in how the elections are conducted. And they will ensure that those that want to vote can vote,” he said. “If I’ve seen anything, it’s election officials are natural crisis managers and really good at the resilient side of it.”
U.S. Generals: Russian Military May Be Set for “Collapse”
Two retired U.S. Generals and leaders in U.S. Intelligence used the word “collapse” when characterizing their outlook for the Russian military, following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s announcement Saturday that his military had recaptured the strategic city of Lyman in the Donetsk region.
Retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, former Trump Administration National Security Adviser, said on Face the Nation, “What we might be at here is really at the precipice of really the collapse of the Russian army in Ukraine, a moral collapse.”
He went on to say that by looking at their number of casualties, “the vast area that they’re trying to defend,” and their attempt to send “untrained” conscripts to the front, “I think they must really be at a breaking point.”
On ABC’s This Week former CIA Director, retired Gen. David Petraeus pointed out that in just seven months, Russia has lost “multiples” of the numbers of casualties it lost “in nearly a decade in Afghanistan—many, many multiples.”
Saying those losses will only continue, he added, “The only question really is when do you start to see not just individual soldiers or small units surrender but when do you start to see larger units crumble, crack and perhaps actually collapse?”
Lead Senator on Intel Fears Attack on NATO More Than Nukes
The leading Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Marco Rubio, said on several shows that while the risk of Putin using a nuclear weapon is “probably higher today than it was a month ago,” he’s more concerned the beleaguered Russian President would strike on a supply distribution point within a NATO nation, like a Polish airport or train station.
That, he believes, would spark Article 5 of the NATO charter, which says an attack on one NATO nation is an attack on all, and mandates a response. What NATO’s response would be to such a scenario, Rubio said, “would depend on the nature of [Russia’s] attack and the scale and the scope of it.”
NBC’s Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd asked NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg whether the explosions last week at the Nord Stream II pipeline between Russia and Germany—which the EU, for one, blames on Russian sabotage—would count as an attack on a NATO nation, if pinned on Russia.
Stoltenberg replied that NATO “support[s] an ongoing investigation,” and added, “any deliberate attack on critical NATO infrastructure will be met with a firm and united response from NATO.”
NRSC Chair Won’t Rebuke Trump’s Snipe at McConnell & Chao
On Friday, former President Trump ridiculed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on his Truth Social site, saying McConnell had a “death wish” for supporting “Democrat sponsored bills.” Trump then referred to McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao—Trump’s former Transportation Secretary who resigned in the wake of the January 6 insurrection—as the Senator’s “China loving wife, Coco Chow!”
On Sunday, CNN’S Bash asked Sen. Scott, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to respond to Trump’s remarks, adding that some inferred “death wish” to be a threat.
Scott would not answer directly, instead criticizing DemocratIc economic policies. And in regard to the statement about former Secretary Chao, Scott said, “As you know the president likes to give people nicknames.”
Bash replied, “Nicknames are one thing, but this appears racist,” to which Scott responded, “It’s never okay to be racist,” but did not call out the former President specifically.
He was given a second chance to “rebuke” the comments on CBS’ Face the Nation by anchor Margaret Brennan. He replied, “I believe what President Trump was talking about is the fact that we can’t keep spending money,” and again said of Secretary Chao that “he gives nicknames.”
Brennan pressed, asking if he would like to rebuke remarks Saturday night by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who said at a rally, “Democrats want Republicans dead, and they have already started the killings.”
Scott said, “I didn’t hear it, we need to bring people together.”