Rep. John Rose to Newsmax: ‘Unfortunate’ to Use Tornadoes for Political Points

Rep. John Rose to Newsmax: 'Unfortunate' to Use Tornadoes for Political Points president joe biden surveys the damage in mayfield, kentucky from tornadoes (Andrew Harnik/AP)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 18 December 2021 10:57 AM

The nation's leaders must quit confusing severe weather with climate change, including after the deadly tornadoes that blew through Kentucky, Tennessee, and several other states last weekend, and should stop using such tragedies to further their political agenda, Rep. John Rose, R-Tenn., told Newsmax.

"Climate change is over centuries," Rose told "Saturday Report." "While this is a devastating storm, and many have said that this devastation is unparalleled in their minds, we only have a brief window of history. [As] we continue to develop our country and add infrastructure and add buildings, there's more in the path of these storms."

Tennessee's death toll reached five from an estimated 23 tornadoes that hit the state Dec. 10-11, according to WPLN, an NPR-affiliated station in Nashville. The National Weather Service has been changing its numbers as it surveys the damages in the state, with the latest estimate showing eight tornadoes went through west Tennessee and 15 hit in the middle part of the state.

But even by recent standards, there was a "more devastating tornado with more loss of life" than what happened last weekend, according to Rose.

"Looking back at decades ago, we had a more devastating tornado with more loss of life than the ones that we see associated with this weather pattern," Rose said. "I think it's unfortunate that folks are using this devastating weather event to try to gain political points and advance of political agenda."

Rose's home is in Cookeville, Tennessee, which he said was spared any significant or loss of life from the recent storms.

"But if you remember back in March 2020, within just a few miles of where I'm sitting, we lost 19 lives here in my home county and 25 across Tennessee," Rose said.

Rose said he also thinks it was a "little tone-deaf" for President Joe Biden to tell a woman in Mayfield, Kentucky, she should tell Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to get a COVID-19 vaccine after he saw her wearing Packers gear.

"The people in Mayfield are dealing with a very real tragedy that's right in front of them," Rose said. "There's a time and a place to talk about what we should do with respect to the coronavirus pandemic. That's not that occasion in my opinion. You know those folks' lives have been devastated. Coronavirus is maybe a distant thought to them right now as they try to struggle through basic necessities. I have a good friend that says, you know, 'when you when you've got plenty of food, you have lots of problems. If you're hungry, you've got one problem.'"

The tornado victims' "lives are devastated," Rose continued. "They're worried about where their next meal is going to come from, where their next drink of water is going to come from, and they face a very long path ahead many times with respect to these disasters. We have got to get very focused in the short term on what we're going to do to help these folks. This is going to be a weeks' long, months' long, in some cases, a years' long process to rebuild the communities and the lives that have been devastated by the storm."

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