Donald Trump’s sudden announcement that he would visit Flint, Michigan on Wednesday was met with skepticism from city leaders who accused him of exploiting their public health crisis for a “photo op.”
“Flint is focused on fixing the problems caused by lead contamination of our drinking water, not photo ops,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton, said in a statement obtained by the Detroit Free Press.
The Trump campaign has yet to release details about the trip, but an early travel schedule included a tour of the Flint water plant and a meeting with pastors to talk about the city’s problems, according to the Free Press.
The GOP nominee’s Flint visit comes 10 days after he made his first visit of the campaign to a majority-black community with an appearance at an African American church in Detroit.
State Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D), who represents Flint, told the newspaper that Trump’s trip read as a publicity stunt.
“He’s taking the Flint water crisis as an opportunity to exploit the Flint community at large,” Neeley said. “He has not said anything at all about the Republican control under the emergency management which caused the crisis in the city of Flint. I’ll be very interested to see if indeed he’s going to say anything about the Republican mess that caused the human health crisis in Flint. If not, he’s being disingenuous by even visiting my town.”
During a March Republican primary debate in Detroit, GOP candidates were met with protesters calling for the resignation of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) over his handling of Flint’s water crisis, which exposed thousands of children to lead contamination.
Trump has said little about the subject on the campaign trail, calling the water contamination a “shame” at a Jan. 19 campaign stop but saying that he “shouldn’t be commenting on Flint.”
In Sept. 3 interview during his visit to Detroit’s Great Faith Ministries, Trump told the Detroit News that the “horror show” in Flint would “have never happened if I were president.”