Calley calls Democratic video on Flint a ‘flat out lie’

Chad Livengood Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Walker — Lt. Gov. Brian Calley on Thursday said a Democratic National Committee video aired at Democrats’ national convention contained a “flat out lie” about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s role in getting state government to take action in Flint’s lead-contaminated water system.

Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in Flint in early January about two weeks before Clinton highlighted the crisis during a nationally televised Democratic presidential primary debate. The video implies that the nation didn’t pay attention to Flint’s problems until Clinton highlighted it.

“It was her voice that let it be known: ‘Hey, they got a problem over there. We need to do something about this,’” an unidentified Flint resident says in the video.

“Hillary Clinton was late to the game, she wasn’t what drove the process,” Calley said after a rally for GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence in suburban Grand Rapids.

Calley, a Portland Republican who has worked in Flint on the crisis weekly this year, said the DNC video contained a “very disappointing distortion of Flint, a flat out lie in fact to suggest that Hillary Clinton bringing up Flint was what caused the action to be taken.”

The timeline of events in the DNC’s video was “all messed up,” Calley said.

“The actions, including switch … back over to the Detroit system, happened months before Hillary Clinton ever set foot in Flint,” Calley said.

Snyder moved to switch Flint back to Detroit’s water system in October 2015 after state officials confirmed the findings of independent researchers that there were high levels of lead in the city’s water and the blood streams of Flint adults and children.

Clinton made two campaign trips to Flint this winter, meeting with families and forming a close alliance with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, who addressed the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night.

The Clinton campaign’s focus on the Flint crisis caused the DNC to hold a televised debate in Flint two days before Michigan’s March 8 presidential primary, which Clinton lost to Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Clinton used the debate to join Sanders in calling for Snyder to resign. She also voiced support for recalling the second-term Republican governor.

Calley noted Thursday that Clinton hasn’t returned to Flint since the primary more than four months ago. In the video, the former secretary of state says at a Flint church that “I will not for one minute forget about you or forget about your children. ...”

“There was a long period of silence from Hillary Clinton on Flint,” Calley told reporters. “… I presume that people around her thought it would be a good idea that they not forget, that they get plugged back (into Flint).”

The lieutenant governor said he welcomes Clinton’s involvement in resolving Flint’s water crisis.

“All I ask that people work on solutions,” Calley said. “If you’re there to just throw stones, that’s fine — it’s a free country. But we need people who are about actually fixing the problems.”

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