Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson under fire for remarks about earthquake in Haiti

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rush Limbaugh at CPAC 2009.

American radio host and conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh and televangelist Pat Robertson have drawn criticism from the White House for comments made on Thursday criticizing the relief efforts for Haiti following Tuesday's earthquake there.

When asked by a caller on his radio show about the president urging Americans to contribute to the Red Cross to help those affected, Limbaugh responded, "Would you trust that the money is going to go to Haiti? Would you trust that your name is going to instead end up on a mailing list for the Obama people to start asking you for campaign donations for him and other causes?"

"Besides," Limbaugh added, "We've already donated to Haiti. It's called the U.S. income tax."

Limbaugh went on to say that the American president "runs around the world apologizing for" the United States, and that "he now turns to us as its president and asks people who have lost their jobs because of his policies to donate to to the people of Haiti, and we will do it. We are the most charitable and the most generous people on the face of the earth. Each and every time a natural disaster like this happens, we step up. We are there. We have yet another crisis simply too good to waste. This will play right into Obama's hands. He's humanitarian, compassionate. They'll use this to burnish their, shall we say, 'credibility' with the black community—in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It's made-to-order for them. That's why he couldn't wait to get out there, could not wait to get out there."

Robertson's remarks on Thursday were also considered to be inflammatory when he suggested on his television show, The 700 Club that the current situation in Haiti is a direct result of a deal Haitians made with Satan in the late 1700s.

Robertson stated that the Haitian people in that time, "were under the heel of the French, uh, you know Napoleon the 3rd and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They [the Haitian leaders] said, 'We will serve you [Satan] if you'll get us free from the French.' True story. And so the Devil said, 'Okay, it's a deal.’ And, uh, they kicked the French out, you know, with the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by, by one thing after another, desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It's cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti on the other side is the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is, is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etcetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God and out of this tragedy I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now we're helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable."

When asked about these two statements during his press briefing Thursday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied to them both respectively, "In times of great crisis, there are always people that say really stupid things. I don't know how anybody could sit where [they] do, having enjoyed the success that [they have], and not feel some measure of sorrow for what has happened in Haiti. I think to use the power of your pulpit to try to convince those not to help their brothers and sisters is sad. My sense is that most people, though, because they understand we're part of an amazing world, won't listen and instead will seek to help those that they know, because it is through no fault of their own, have suffered an unspeakable tragedy."

Chris Roslan, spokesperson for the network that broadcasts Robertson's show defended the remarks stating, "Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God's wrath. If you watch the entire video segment, Dr. Robertson's compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them."

Rush Limbaugh and the radio network that carries his show still have yet to reply to the criticism from The White House and elsewhere.