MSNBC Brings on Obama Hack to Blame Trump for Chemical Plant Explosion

During MSNBC’s 10 a.m. ET hour on Thursday, anchor Hallie Jackson attempted to draw on the expertise of former OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab following explosions at a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. However, the partisan Obama official made it clear he was only interested in one thing – exploiting the crisis to gratuitously attack the Trump administration.  

Jackson began the interview by asking for Barab’s reaction to a press conference from the owner of the Arkmema chemical facility. After acknowledging that “It doesn’t seem like this specific incident is gonna have a huge impact on the public,” Barab couldn’t resist his urge to blast President Trump:

What concerns me far more right now is the general atmosphere around Houston, where you have a huge concentration of this country’s chemical facilities and refineries with much more dangerous chemicals....And what the impact of hurricanes, climate change, and unfortunately, many of the actions of the Trump administration are gonna have on the safety of the public who live in the vicinity of these plants.

 

 

Moments later, Jackson wondered: “Is this, in your view, do you think, sort of the last big issue that we might see as it relates to chemical plants or is there concern that there’s going to be more issues sort of dominoing from here?” While admitting that “we don’t really know what the extent of the impact is on chemical facilities there,” Barab again slammed the administration:

But probably more important looking into the future, I mean, the Trump administration can deny climate change all it wants. But the fact is that it’s happening. And these plants that are facing these huge, unprecedented, unexpected floods and other weather events are gonna need to figure out what to do about that and how to protect the communities around these facilities. And the Trump administration has been rolling back regulations that would protect people from these kind of incidents.

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Jackson followed up: “Should this Arkema facility have done more, should they have been doing more?” Barab again revealed his ignorance of issue before savaging Trump one last time:

You know, it’s hard to tell at this point. I mean, obviously, there has to be an investigation about this, which is also troubling because the main agency that does these kind of investigations, the Chemical Safety Board, the Trump administration also proposed that that Chemical Safety Board be eliminated in their budget. So they’re not only, you know, not looking at what’s happening around, but they’re actually taking away the government’s ability to investigate these incidents.

Later in the hour, Jackson spoke with former FEMA Director David Paulison about the chemical plant incident. He warned: “You know, there’s going to be a lot of issues, a lot of finger pointing now and probably now is not the right time to do that. Now is the right time to focus on keeping people safe, getting people rescued....I think right now the finger pointing and second guessing, particularly during this period of time, is really not helpful.”

The segment was brought to viewers by Purina, Bayer, and AARP.

Here is a full transcript of the August 31 interview:

10:13 AM ET

HALLIE JACKSON: I want to first bring in, though, Jordan Barab, who is on the phone with us now, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of OSHA under President Obama. Jordan, thank you for being with us. And I understand you had a chance to listen in to that news conference that we were just listening in to, can I get your reaction to what you heard from Richard Rennard there?

JORDAN BARAB: Yeah, thanks. I’ll tell you, it’s – obviously the facts are still developing here, it’s hard to tell exactly what the impact of this is gonna be. It doesn’t seem like this specific incident is gonna have a huge impact on the public, we’ll have to see what happens. What concerns me far more right now is the general atmosphere around Houston, where you have a huge concentration of this country’s chemical facilities and refineries with much more dangerous chemicals than you’re finding in the plant that just had the explosions. And what the impact of hurricanes, climate change, and unfortunately, many of the actions of the Trump administration are gonna have on the safety of the public who live in the vicinity of these plants.

JACKSON: Drill back down into this specific area, Jordan, into Crosby, what is the takeaway for people who are living in that area of Texas right now? What is the most important thing that they need to be – that they need to know given that they just evacuated this area around the plant?

BARAB: Well, in – people living around these plants need to know what’s in the plants and what the worst case scenarios are. Now EPA has requirements ensure that plants have to calculate that information, but they’re also making it much harder for the public to get a hold of that information that has a direct impact on their lives. They need to know what chemicals are in there. And, quite frankly, there are a lot of facilities in Texas that have much, much more hazardous chemicals than seem to be in this plant. I mean, things like hydrochloric acid can really kill or injure thousands.

JACKSON: I’m sorry, I don’t want to interrupt you here but given that there’s other plants that you’re talking about with more hazardous chemicals, do you think that that is a concern now as these flood waters have receded in most of east Texas that we’ve been looking at? Is this, in your view, do you think, sort of the last big issue that we might see as it relates to chemical plants or is there concern that there’s going to be more issues sort of dominoing from here?

BARAB: Well, there’s certainly a concern. I mean, I don’t know if all the flood waters have receded everywhere, we don’t really know what the extent of the impact is on chemical facilities there. But probably more important looking into the future, I mean, the Trump administration can deny climate change all it wants. But the fact is that it’s happening. And these plants that are facing these huge, unprecedented, unexpected floods and other weather events are gonna need to figure out what to do about that and how to protect the communities around these facilities. And the Trump administration has been rolling back regulations that would protect people from these kind of incidents.

JACKSON: Should this Arkema facility have done more, should they have been doing more?

BARAB: You know, it’s hard to tell at this point. I mean, obviously, there has to be an investigation about this, which is also troubling because the main agency that does these kind of investigations, the Chemical Safety Board, the Trump administration also proposed that that Chemical Safety Board be eliminated in their budget. So they’re not only, you know, not looking at what’s happening around, but they’re actually taking away the government’s ability to investigate these incidents.

JACKSON: Jordan Barab, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of OSHA under President Obama. Jordan, thank you again for joining us here on the phone. I appreciate it.


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