May 21st, 2013
09:59 AM ET
11 months ago

Sen. Inhofe: 'This thing was huge'

(CNN) – Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma said Tuesday morning there was "still a lot of uncertainty" in the aftermath of the disastrous tornado that barreled through Moore, Oklahoma.

But one thing he knows for sure is the area has a long way to go in terms of recovery and emphasized a need to raise a lot of money in the wake of the storm.

"This thing was huge. This is one of the largest ones we had," the Republican senator said on CNN's "Starting Point."

Inhofe pointed to the devastating 1999 tornado that struck the Oklahoma City area, which still ranks as one of the 10 costliest tornadoes in the U.S. since 1950 and caused $1.3 billion in damage. The May EF5 twister killed 36 people and smashed some of the same communities as Monday's tornado.

Officials have initially confirmed that 51 people–including 20 children–were killed in Monday's storm.

Having lived in Oklahoma since he was a child, Inhofe is no stranger to tornadoes, but he said Monday's storm was "so much worse" because of its size and scope.

"I don't know many people who have been raised in Oklahoma who haven't actually been in a tornado one time or another," he said.

President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration late Monday night, making available federal funds for the area. Asked what kind of assistance the state needs, Inhofe told CNN's John Berman they "have everything that [they] need" in terms of immediate recovery efforts.

"We have individual assistance, we have public assistance so that came immediately," he said. "I know [Governor] Mary Fallin was in contact with the president, so that's behind us now, that kind of assistance.

"But there are little things you can could do," the fiscal conservative said. "The Salvation Army and the Red Cross have a number where you can make small contributions. It's going to be necessary to raise a lot of money. We had to do this in 1999."

Inhofe, along with fellow Republican Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, voted against the Senate bill earlier this year appropriating massive federal funds for disaster relief after Superstorm Sandy.

Inhofe said after the 1999 storm, more people in Oklahoma built storm shelters and basement safe areas–which can be incredibly expensive in Oklahoma. But Inhofe said those decisions saved lives.

"There would have been a lot more people killed we believe if they had not had that warning some 14 years ago," he said.


Filed under: Jim Inhofe • Oklahoma
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Brian from WY

    Does anyone know if Inhofe supported Sandy victims? I know he hates the federal government.

    May 21, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Looking for a handout Sen. Inhoffe? Let me go back and check on how you voted for the Sandy Relief Bill.

    May 21, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. Bill

    While this was a horrible tragedy and we all pray for the injured, it makes me sick that the GOP plays politics with funding, except when red states need help. I wonder if this clown will request that any federal assistance be offset by spending cuts elsewhere, as they normally do (example is huirricane Sandy in NJ last fall). Inofe is a perfect example of what is wrong with Congress. No cuts, then no federal assistance. Let's see is he has the guts to tell this to people of his own state.

    May 21, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    How are we going to offset this spending Sen. Inhofe?

    May 21, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The only question is , how long the gop will block federal aid to your state to help these American citizens in time of need. Gop blocks sandy aid for 6 months while they take a recess , cantor blocks flood aid for his own state for months and the idiots in virgina put him back in office at their own expense when your own kid is under the ruble ,I think you need to have the dems in charge and not wait 6 months for the gop clowns to act only because of public outrage . Kick these gop losers out of office for your kids and your own protection . The gop will lose the house and senate in 2014 .Americans can't be dumb enough to vote for these idiots that put party before people,sounds like what the communist use to do and they went out of business !!!!!!

    May 21, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    Can we please refrain from the usual partisan nonsense for a day, please?

    May 21, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Inhofe, along with fellow Republican Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, voted against the Senate bill earlier this year appropriating massive federal funds for disaster relief after Superstorm Sandy."

    As a resident of a state that has seen its fair share of natural disasters, it has never occurred to me to offer my voting support to ANY candidate who would use politics as a motive to vote against another state in time of need. Apparently Mr. Inhofe has had no such problem cutting aid to others beyond his own home state.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out in Congress now that the shoe is on the other foot.

    May 21, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. just sayin

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes
    How are we going to offset this spending Sen. Inhofe?
    --

    cut all the government funding of bogus green energy companies that have cost the taxpayers billions.

    May 21, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. Sniffit

    Funds? I know where we can start: guess who will be making a huge profit off denying insurance coverage. Guess.

    "Officials have initially confirmed that 51 people–including 20 children–were killed in Monday's storm."

    The medical examiner's office has revised that down to 24...including 7 children (still, very hard to call that good news).

    May 21, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Brian from WY
    Here's yoru answer straight form the story:
    "Inhofe, along with fellow Republican Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, voted against the Senate bill earlier this year appropriating massive federal funds for disaster relief after Superstorm Sandy"
    I think that God has a quirky sense of humor, don't you Brian?
    He's not always haha funny, but he's got a funny way of getting his point across.

    May 21, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. Gary

    Inhofe was just asked about this, the first words out of his mouth were. " That was New Jersey". Then went on mumbeling sonething about were some of the money would have gone.
    You're lucky most Americans are helpfull, generous and forgiving people. Hopefully the people of Oklahoma will remember this next election. Get rid of this Obstructionist.

    May 21, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "This thing was huge"
    Really? Ya' think it was as huge as Sandy Senator? We're not impressed with your characterization as a way of justifying your vote and your urgency to get your hands on government relief funds for your state.

    May 21, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Greg in Arkansas

    "This thing was huge."
    Really...???....Bet you won't wait until after the funerals until you start harping on Bengazzi, the IRS or repealing Obamacare as the most important issues Congress has to deal with....don't forget to remind us that "climate change" is a hoax too....

    May 21, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX

    As a native of Boston and the northeast I can say with a certainty that residents of New Jersey pay a ENORMOUS amount of taxes and those yahoos in congress had the GALL to hold up their request for help after Sandy.

    I hope to the people of Oklahoma get all the help they need and deserve. But will we see the same dog and pony show as the victims of Hurricane Sandy just to get some emergency funds ?

    May 21, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "Inhofe, along with fellow Republican Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, voted against the Senate bill earlier this year appropriating massive federal funds for disaster relief after Superstorm Sandy"
    I think that God has a quirky sense of humor, don't you Brian?
    He's not always haha funny, but he's got a funny way of getting his point across.
    ---------------------------------------------
    I think the saying goes "I can show you better than I can tell you." God don't like ugly!

    May 21, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Half of the city of Hoboken was under water for days.
    People couldn't leave their apartments.
    Detritus floating right alongside fecal matter, just like Katrina minus the floating bodies.
    Yet you Senator and your other cohort, both Senators of a state that you would think would've thought you to be generous and helpful in times of need, you two voted down the help needed to assist and rebuild these two states.
    Shame on you both.

    May 21, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Taught" not "thought". Pardon.

    May 21, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    To everyone out there: Inhofe is their duly elected Senator. I can't stand the man but right now is not the place or time to comment on someone's voting record. Has anyone thought about making a donation to the Red Cross? Has anyone here thought about that, or is using a tragedy to make cheap partisan shots more important, because you can sound so wity on these boards?

    May 21, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. Data Driven

    I sympathize with the sentiment, Tom Paine. Unfortunately, Inhofe's partisan nonsense is going to be a factor in this story, both in the preventative sense (denial of climate change even as he admits this was the worst tornado he has seen in his lifetime), and in the nuts and bolts of relief. This man voted against Federal disaster relief bills. Now he, and the citizens he represents, will have to scramble as a consequence.

    May 21, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "You're lucky most Americans are helpfull, generous and forgiving people."
    ----------------------------------------–
    Yep. We help our fellow brothers and sisters in times of need. But in all honesty, I really want to tell Sen. Inhofe to go screw himself.

    May 21, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. Bob

    Don't come crying to US for government money, Inhofe. Make do on your own.

    May 21, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    just sayin

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes
    How are we going to offset this spending Sen. Inhofe?

    cut all the government funding of bogus green energy companies that have cost the taxpayers billions.
    ****************
    What does that have to do with this story? Can you lay off the partisan nonsense for 1 day, out of respect for the dead?

    May 21, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Dutch/Bad Newz, Va
    I think the saying goes "I can show you better than I can tell you."
    -------------------------------------------------
    I think you're right Dutch.

    May 21, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Brian from WY

    Does anyone know if Inhofe supported Sandy victims? I know he hates the federal government.
    -------------
    from the article:

    " Inhofe, along with fellow Republican Sen. Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, voted against the Senate bill earlier this year appropriating massive federal funds for disaster relief after Superstorm Sandy. "

    May 21, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. Debbie from Arizona

    President Obama will make sure Oklahoma has all the help they need. The GOP will make sure the President continues to get all of the criticism, twisting of the facts and partisan obstruction they are so well known for. Meanwhile, the good people of Oklahoma will pick up the pieces of their lives and go on. My thoughts, prayers and what money I can give are with them.

    May 21, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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