The Slatest

Michigan Governor Says, Sure, He’ll Totally Drink Flint Tap Water for a Month After Residents Balked 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., March 17.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Residents of Flint, Michigan, are understandably skeptical about taking their governor’s word when it comes to the city’s drinking water. It was under Gov. Rick Snyder’s watch, after all, that Flint’s water was rendered dangerous and unsafe to drink. But officials say the city’s water has improved and is now drinkable with a built-in filter affixed to the tap. Flint residents aren’t so sure and suggested on Friday their Republican governor step up and drink the water himself. His answer? “I’m happy to look into that.” Not exactly a resounding endorsement from the leader of the state. But on Monday, Snyder had apparently done all the looking he needed and committed to drinking water from Flint for the next month.

“Flint residents made it clear that they would like to see me personally drink the water, so today I am fulfilling that request,” Gov. Snyder said. “And I will continue drinking Flint water at work and at home for at least 30 days.” I know what you’re thinking: This is a cheap political trick by a politician trying to regain the trust of his constituents. You know what I’m thinking? This is a cheap political trick by a politician.

For starters, the gesture would carry a lot more weight if the governor hadn’t backed into doing it at someone else’s suggestion. Second, Synder’s playing pretty fast and loose with the logistics of this whole thing, like this tidbit from the Detroit Free Press: “The governor said he won’t always be able to drink the Flint tap water when he is travelling, but he plans to drink it when he is at his downtown Ann Arbor home and when he is at work in his office in the Romney Building in Lansing.” I think the point, governor, is people who live in Flight don’t get to take a break from their questionable drinking water.

But, fear not, Snyder is planning on proving his commitment by releasing photos in the act of drinking the tap water. Flint resident Elizabeth Taylor, 73, summed up the problem with trying to restore trust by saying: trust me. “He thinks we just trust him because he says so?” Taylor told the Detroit Free Press.