Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush compared a South Carolina senator to Hurricane Katrina Wednesday in what was meant to be a compliment, according to a report.
After being introduced by state Sen. Katrina Shealy at a town hall event outside of Columbia, South Carolina, Bush said that Shealy “reminds him of a hurricane,” according to CNN.
Here’s the full quote:
"In fact, when I was governor, in 16 months we had eight hurricanes and four tropical storms. One of them was called Katrina. I don't know why your great state senator reminds me of a hurricane. But she does. She's strong and she's fierce, and she's solving problems for you at the state capitol. You should be honored to have her as your elected official. I hope you agree with that. That should be your nickname. In the Bush family, we always give out nicknames. Yours is now Hurricane Katrina."
As governor of Florida during Hurricane Katrina, Bush received praise for his handling of the disaster, CNN reported. However, his brother, former President George W. Bush, who visited New Orleans earlier this year for the 10th anniversary, was widely criticized for his administration’s failures in response to the 2005 storm.
According to a CNN report citing FEMA, 14 people in Florida, 238 in Mississippi and 1,577 in Louisiana died in Hurricane Katrina.
After some began criticizing Jeb Bush’s remarks on social media, Shealy said that she found the moment “sweet.” She said she didn’t consider the comment to be offensive and that it was meant to describe her personality.
Any critics "don't know Jeb Bush very well,” she told CNN. “He didn't mean anything negative about that."