U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said on July 12 that she would order the Department of Justice to investigate the Flint water crisis if elected president.
“I think we need to have accountability. I think it’s really important that in this crisis that we just talked about that there is a way to hold people accountable who lied to the public, who have forced unsafe drinking water on people and their families,” Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand was in Flint as part of her Trump Broken Promises bus tour of three Midwest swing states that now President Donald Trump flipped in the 2016 presidential election.
Gillibrand said that Trump has not been to Flint “because he doesn’t care, he just doesn’t care.”
“He made a joke in one of his press conferences that you used to not be able to drink the water in Mexico and cars were made in Flint but now you can’t drink the water in Flint and cars are made in Mexico,” Gillibrand said. “He made a joke about the suffering of this community.”
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Gillibrand said that, as president, she would also raise federal standards for drinking water, changing the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule threshold for acceptable amounts of lead and copper in drinking water from 15 parts per billion to 5 ppb with a goal of 0 ppb.
Finally, Gillibrand said she wants to make an increased investment in water infrastructure nationwide, dedicating $400 billion over 10 years – including redirecting funds tied to Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the southern border, if courts allow the declaration to stand.
Before the scrum with reporters, Gillibrand met privately with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and toured the Flint water treatment plant, Berston Field House and several businesses in downtown Flint.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro became the first presidential candidate to visit Flint during the 2020 cycle in June.
While Castro and Gillibrand are the only two candidates to have visited Flint at this point in this race, several candidates have fielded questions about the water crisis while campaigning in other parts of Michigan.
More than a dozen presidential candidates are expected to be in Michigan July 30 and July 31 for the second Democratic presidential debate, which is being held at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.