MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Three days after he declined to offer a detailed comment on the Flint, Mich., water crisis, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Thursday called it a "tragic" development due to a "significant government breakdown."
"There was a significant government breakdown in terms of when they switched the power -- the water source to a lake that was known to be polluted and unfortunately now we have people that are facing this terrible situation with potential lead poisoning and all sorts of things," Rubio told reporters. "It's a very -- a systemic and ugly breakdown at the local and state level. The governor has acknowledged that."
Rubio said "there'll have to be accountability." He did not call for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to resign.
"We'll have to look and see how those decisions were made, and people will have to be held accountable for that, because it's having real human repercussions," he said. "And what we'll figure out now moving forward is what can the federal government's role be in assisting people, for example children in particular, that might have been exposed to lead."
Asked in Iowa on Monday about the crisis, Rubio said he had not yet been briefed on the situation. “That’s not an issue that, right now, we've been focused on," the Detroit News reported.
Rubio on Thursday called the crisis "quite tragic."