An abandoned vehicle sits in flood waters on the I-10 highway in Houston, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Texas' secretary of state turned down Quebec's aid offer, asked for "prayers" instead

Hurricane Harvey is illustrating America's tense international relationships


Matthew Rozsa
September 1, 2017 4:19PM (UTC)

May God help Texas, because Canada sure won't.

The Canadian province's  Minister of International Relations, Christine St-Pierre, offered to send equipment, power crews, sleeping materials and hygenic products to Texas. But Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos turned down her offer and simply asked for "prayers from the people of Quebec."

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Hurricane Harvey has also had the incidental effect of shedding light on the newly complicated and tense relationships that America has with the rest of the world under President Donald Trump.

Mexico and Venezuela have both offered to help the United States despite facing hostility from the Trump administration, according to Politico. Mexico was insulted by Trump during the 2016 campaign when he said they sent rapists and drug dealers to the United States, and after taking office Trump later had an infamously tense conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Venezuela on the other hand has been the subject of harsh sanctions by the Trump administration.

They aren't alone among nations alienated by Trump who are coming to America in its time of need. For instance, the European Union has shared its satellite mapping with emergency responders, even though Trump has created tension in America's relationship with Europe due to his harsh criticisms of NATO.

All of this is well and good, but as Hoover Institution visiting fellow Markos Kounalakis told Politico, "Foreign governments are holding back, and that hasn’t been the case historically. They appear to be much more cautious, whether it’s for domestic political reasons or displeasure with President Trump. Do they want to be seen as helping Trump?"

Texas and Quebec have a close relationship thanks to both trade and the aerospace industry, and despite Pablos' response, St-Pierre still said of Texas, "They are our friends, this is what friendship means." As America is learning, however, those bonds of friendship may not be as strong as they used to be.

UPDATE: Pablos denies forgoing aide:

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“Contrary to what has been reported in the media, Secretary Pablos did not decline the minister’s offer, but instead made sure Quebec made contact with the proper Texas state agency,”a spokesman for the Texas secretary of state’s office said. She added: “The Quebec Government’s office in Houston is in constant contact with local authorities and is arranging for emergency supplies to be shipped shortly.”


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump European Union Houston Hurricane Harvey Mexico Quebec Taiwan Texas Venezuela

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