Michael Brown, FEMA director during Hurricane Katrina and the subject of one of the more notorious soundbites in crisis management history, said that the Obama White House slowed its response to the BP oil spill to use the crisis for its agenda.
Appearing on FOX and MSNBC, Brown said the president and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's distaste for oil and coal companies played a role in their response.
“This president has never supported big oil. He has never supported offshore drilling. And now he has an excuse to shut it back down,” Brown said on FOX, according to Politico. “They played politics with this crisis and left the Coast Guard out there by themselves doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Brown also told Chris Matthews on MSNBC (also via Politico): "We're seeing the Rahm Emanuel rule #1 taking effect, and that is to let no crisis go unused. So this is an opportunity for a President who wants to bankrupt the coal industry, and basically get rid of the oil and gas industry, to shut down offshore drilling."
Politico noted that Brown is selling a new book and looking for clients for crisis management company.
President George W. Bush's praise of Brown ("... you're doing a heckuva job.") became the defining soundbite for the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.