The latest chapter in the back-and-forth saga between Gov. Kay Ivey and State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Daphne) played out on Wednesday when Ivey expressed her frustration during a press conference with those critical of the state’s Hurricane Sally response.
Without mentioning Elliott by name, she took exception to a “state senator” in her remarks about “Monday morning quarterbacks.”
“Monday morning quarterbacks have the easiest job in the world,” she said. “They don’t ever get their uniform dirty. They don’t ever get hurt or injure themselves because they never enter the game. But they’re the quickest to tell you what should have been done and what they would have done if they had been in the game.”
Ivey, apparently referring to Elliott, who had questioned two of the governor’s lieutenants for their tack in a conference call last week, responded to Ivey’s comments during an interview with Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5’s Sean Sullivan.
Elliott acknowledged Ivey was likely referring to him.
“I think so, too,” he said. “And that’s OK. I don’t have a problem having this conversation at all. I just think it is so disappointing that this governor is reacting this way, even to the slightest situation that something wasn’t going right in the response. To characterize this as ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ — look, she got one thing right: It was Monday. When I was called to the Emergency Operations Center by local elected officials who were worried they are not getting the supplies they requested, asking for my help. That’s my job as their state senator — is to represent them and make sure they get the resources they need from the state.”
“To suggest that my jersey is not dirty — look … I’ve been muddy for the last couple of weeks,” he continued. “We’ve got tree limbs down all over the place; houses flooded, including my personal property strewn all about. I’ve been running a chain saw, and heck, I had one conference call with the Governor’s office while I was standing in waist-deep floodwater.”
Elliott suggested it was Ivey who was not getting her jersey dirty, as she had flown in and out of the scene of the storm.
“In the Emergency Operations Center at the request of the local electeds — you know, on the ground with the lieutenant governor, who came down and met with folks with me that was scheduled way ahead of time to meet with farmers, to meet with business people, to meet with individuals on their property where they had actually been impacted — as opposed to jetting into Gulf Shores on the state jet and having a sterile photo-op with a few other folks down there, and choppering over to Dauphin Island before you jet back to Montgomery,” he said. “She may have thought this game was over on Friday, but it is not. We still didn’t have the resources that had been requested on Monday. And Sean, it’s not over now. We’re still recovering, and we will for a while. We ought to be able to have a reasonable conversation with this administration says, ‘Hey Governor, Mr. Emergency Management Coordinator — this is not going well in this particular area. Here’s what’s going well, here’s what is not going well.’ But instead, we get this kind of response: ‘You didn’t come meet with me when I was here for a little while.'”
Elliott told Sullivan he had a prearranged visit with Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, which coincided with Ivey’s visit, and was unable to attend the entirety of Ivey’s trip. However, Elliott said he did “appreciate” Ivey’s attention.
“I appreciate her being down here,” the state senator said. “I do. But this attitude that this emergency is somehow or another over as soon as she leaves and that any type of conversation after that is some kind of post-game analysis when we’re still on the field, we’re still in the mud. We’re still working on it — it’s hardly Monday morning quarterbacking. And to tell my local mayors, commissioners, and other legislators, you know, that they don’t want to hear any griping from them and that any type of criticism is somehow or another inappropriate — that’s really something when you’ve got folks that are suffering and trying to dig out from underneath this.”
He went on to say there was still work to be done and that he found the Ivey administration’s response to be “pretty audacious.”
“We have got to have an administration that doesn’t get their feelings hurt whenever somebody says, ‘Hey, this part isn’t going as well as it should be,'” he said. “And we’ve got to have an administration that understands this emergency. This recovery is not over yet.”
“[I] don’t think any of this was malicious at all,” Elliott added. “I do think the response to the questions, the plea for help, and the heavy-handed coming down on local elected officials that were simply asking for the help that you promised is really pretty audacious.”
Later in the segment, Elliott speculated the sharp disagreements between he and Ivey go back to the beginning of his opposition to the I-10 Mobile Bay bridge toll proposal, which lost favor with his constituents and was ultimately canceled.
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.