In a Monday Facebook post following a weekend of historic flooding in New Orleans, Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville) used a viral image of the flooding coupled with an iconic image from Hurricane Katrina to mock the city’s woes.
McDaniel suggested the city was at fault for the flooding because it spent its resources removing Confederate monuments in the Spring rather than on bolstering its flood prevention capabilities.
“Hey, New Orleans,” McDaniel wrote. “How about more money for flood control rather than Confederate statue removal?”
McDaniel juxtaposed two images of New Orleans in the post – one shot by Brett Duke for NOLA.com showing a flooded New Orleans neighborhood from this weekend, and the other showing the exact same flooded neighborhood in the days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Removal of the Confederate monuments was initially supposed to cost the city $170,000, but the contractor who quoted that figure pulled out after his car was lit on fire by pro-Confederate protestors. Legal challenges and threats from supporters of the monuments caused costs to balloon to $2.1 million, due to litigation and heightened security costs.
McDaniel, who ran a turbulent Tea Party campaign for U.S. Senator against incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran in 2014, has ties to numerous Neo-Confederate groups, and regularly speaks out in support of maintaining symbols of the Old South.
In June, McDaniel criticized New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu for removing the city’s Confederate monuments, tweeting, “I’d take [Confederate General] Robert E. Lee over Mitch Landrieu any day.”
In recent months, McDaniel has been burnishing up his credentials among supporters of the embattled Mississippi State flag, which carries in its upper left hand corner the emblem of the Confederacy. He’s expected to challenge another Republican incumbent – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker – in 2018.
McDaniel earned the endorsement of Donald Trump when he ran in 2014, with Trump tweeting, “He is strong, he is smart & he wants things to change in Washington.”
I hope voters in Mississippi cast their ballot for @senatormcdaniel. He is strong, he is smart & he wants things to change in Washington.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2014
McDaniel, who has long defined himself as a “small government conservative,” has mostly hewed closely to President Trump, defending him against attacks from Republicans and Democrats alike.
One hint of McDaniel’s 2018 intentions may be a post from Mississippi Conservative Daily – a McDaniel linked blog – which on Sunday teased “a major announcement on this site [in the next week or two] that will have a major political impact on Mississippi and beyond.”
Throughout New Orleans on Saturday, neighborhoods experienced flooding of 8-10 inches. Flooding reached 100-year highs in several neighborhoods.
In a major address in May that attracted national attention, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu explained the decision to remove the Confederate monuments, saying “the Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity.”