President Donald Trump said he’s ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give Alabama the “A Plus treatment” following a devastating tornado.
Tornadoes touched down in the southern United States on Sunday, the worst ripping through rural Alabama. The storms left at least 23 people dead, including three children, and destroyed more than 1,000 homes, The New York Times reports.
Sheriff Jay Jones of Lee County, Alabama described the destruction as “catastrophic” and said he expected the death toll to rise as search and rescue teams continue their efforts.
Trump tweeted on Monday morning that FEMA would provide “the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes.”
His comments have spurred criticism online, as the president’s words suggested to some that FEMA provides different levels of aid depending on his orders.
Trump has a rough history with disaster response: his harsh criticism of Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria has not been forgotten. He once threatened to pull FEMA funds from the recovery, a move he repeated a few months later during the California wildfires.
“We’re glad Trump is devoting the full resources of FEMA to the people of Alabama after the devastating tornadoes ripped through people’s homes. But when other states experienced similar disasters, Trump was totally careless and even mean,” tweeted Eugene Gu, a scientist who frequently speaks out against Trump on social media.
“Wish we had a President who cared about all Americans whether they live in a red state, blue state, or US territory,” Gu added.
According to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, the primary focus of recovery at this time is search and rescue, as “there are many people unaccounted for.”