A quarter billion dollars later, the ships sat half empty.
Trailing Donald Trump in the polls by a widening margin, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is trying to use the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Saturday to highlight his successes in crisis response. On Tuesday, his presidential campaign released a two-minute ad promoting Bush’s handling of hurricanes as governor.
Bush has been widely praised for his response to Katrina, in contrast with the criticism his brother, George W. Bush, faced as president in addressing the disaster. But one thing Jeb Bush is not likely to mention on the anniversary is how he helped Carnival Cruise Lines—via a major GOP donor—land a quarter-billion-dollar federal contract to house people displaced by the hurricane. The fast-tracked contract sent $236 million to the Florida-based cruise company, but the ships sat half empty for weeks, according to the Associated Press, which wrote in 2006 that the deal “has been criticized by lawmakers of both parties as a prime example of wasted spending in Hurricane Katrina-related contracts.”