After drivers were stranded on a roughly 90 mile stretch of I-95 in Virginia, some for over 24 hours, after a winter storm hit the area harder than expected this week, the busy interstate was cleared and is now back open to traffic and business as usual.
Though fortunately, it appears there were no deaths, and the four people who were reportedly hospitalized had issues that various media reports indicated were not life-threatening, the blame games and finger-pointing have commenced. Angry drivers tired from having to sit in cold vehicles with little to nothing to eat and nowhere to go to the bathroom as temperatures hovered below freezing are directing the blame squarely at Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and the Virginia Dept. of Transportation, both of which drivers have said were ill-prepared to handle the storm before the first snowflake ever fell.
They have a pretty strong case, considering what NR’s Dominic Pino wrote last night detailing the notification failures, what the VDOT did and did not do in advance of the storm, the years of corruption within the department, as well as their botched handling of other situational things as the crisis unfolded.
But it’s what Northam said in response to the fiasco on I-95 that has left a lot of people scratching their heads. As the Washington Post reported, Northam took no responsibility for what happened and instead blamed the drivers:
State Police and transportation officials took to the air to monitor progress because highway traffic cameras went dark amid power outages, Northam said. While expressing sympathy for stranded motorists, Northam said more should have heeded warnings to stay off the roads.
“We gave warnings, and people need to pay attention to these warnings, and the less people that are on the highways when these storms hit, the better,” he said. “I feel for these people that are stranded but just want to let them know we’re doing everything we can to get to them in a very challenging situation.”
Good grief. Think he could fit his foot any further into his mouth on that one?
While it’s good – and pretty standard advice from state officials – to advise people not to get on the roads if they don’t have to when bad weather events like this one are forecast, it strikes me as extremely poor form not to mention bad leadership to blame the people who got stuck, especially when you don’t know the circumstances for why they were on the road in the first place.
In fact, from what I’ve read, the tie-ups on the interstate started after a tractor-trailer jackknifed. Presumably, that truck had no choice but to be on the road to deliver supplies and whatnot. After that, there was a ripple effect with other accidents and people having to stop because they couldn’t go around. Further complicating it was the fact that it was freezing, so what had fallen on the roadways was sticking and getting worse. Then you had some people trying to take sideroads that were not slagged, which further complicated the whole situation.
There was also the issue of Northam appearing to be MIA on Tuesday as the reality of the situation began to set in. Acting stupidly, some prominent liberals and so-called truuue conservatives on Twitter took to blaming Gov.-Elect Glenn Youngkin, even though he won’t be sworn in for another week and half.
In any event, considering how poorly this week’s weather event was handled, I suspect there will be very few who in the state outside of the diehard Democratic faithful who will be sad to see Northam go. The only question remains is will he moonwalk his way out of the governor’s mansion on his final day in office?
The best choreography award goes to Ralph Northam, incredibly still Governor of VA, who was a second away from doing a moonwalk during a blackface apology press conference.
This is apparently the second award Northam’s moonwalking has received. #Oscars
— Retired Orrin G. Hatch (@RetiredOrrin) February 25, 2019
Related: Virginia Lt. Gov.-Elect Winsome Sears Drops Some Words of Wisdom Just a Few Weeks out From Inauguration Day