Trump Has A History Of Politicizing Election-Season Hurricanes

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump walks in the rain with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, as they arrive at a campaign rally in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (Loren Elliott/Tampa Bay Times via AP)
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Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show this week that liberals are using Hurricane Matthew to “sell” the threat of climate change to the general public. He’s not the only suspicious one: Hurricanes apparently bring out the conspiracy theorist in Donald Trump, too.

After Hurricane Sandy slammed into the northeast a week before the 2012 presidential election, Trump tweeted that Obama would leverage federal disaster relief to “buy the election”:

He also seized the opportunity to extend his “offer” to Obama: $5 million to the President’s charity of choice if he released his college and passport applications and records. Trump had already seen the president’s short- and long-form birth certificates, although both failed to end his years-long birther crusade, which he only renounced in a 30-second statement last month.

Trump’s Sandy-related tweets continued for days, alternately targeting Democrats for allegedly politicizing the storm, and then politicizing it himself:

He’d also criticized Obama in October 2012 for not granting federal funds in the relief effort after Hurricane Isaac passed over Florida that August, calling Obama’s speech critical of George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina “racist”:

Ahead of Hurricane Matthew’s landfall in Florida, Trump’s lone storm-related tweet was much more reserved. “Praying for everyone in Florida,” he tweeted Thursday. “Hoping the hurricane dissipates, but in any event, please be careful.”

Neither Trump nor his campaign have commented on the Clinton campaign’s decision to postpone advertisements in Florida on stations broadcasting the Weather Channel.

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