Federal Disaster Aid for Nashville ‘Will Be Coming Shortly’: Tennessee Governor

December 28, 2020 Updated: December 28, 2020

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said federal disaster aid for the explosion in Nashville on Christmas Day is coming in the near future.

“The damage is enormous. It was an indescribable blast, and it’s destroyed businesses all up and down that downtown block,” Lee told Fox News on Monday. “As I’ve said before, we’ve had a hard year, as everyone has across this country—especially small business owners have been hit hard.”

He added that the state has “worked really hard to keep businesses open and to keep them able to operate, and now there is a whole group of them who will not be able to operate for some time.”

His office made a request for a federal emergency declaration by the Trump administration.

“We have requested an emergency declaration. I actually spoke with the president myself yesterday. It appears that that will be coming shortly, and we will have some assistance to help begin this rebuilding process. So, we are very grateful to President Trump for his response to that request,” the Republican governor told the network.

It came as Nashville Mayor John Cooper told CNN that he has not yet heard from President Donald Trump following the blast.

Officials with the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office said Anthony Quinn Warner was the suspect in the blast, adding that Warner died when a vehicle exploded downtown.

“We hope to get an answer. Sometimes, it’s just not possible,” David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said Monday in an interview, according to The Associated Press. “The best way to find motive is to talk to the individual. We will not be able to do that in this case.”

Rausch and other officials said Warner, 63, was not on their radar before the incident.

“It does appear that the intent was more destruction than death, but again that’s all still speculation at this point as we continue in our investigation with all our partners,” Rausch said.

Doug Korneski, the special agent in charge in charge of the FBI’s Memphis field office, said Sunday that officials were looking at any and all motives and were interviewing acquaintances of Warner’s to try to determine what may have motivated him.

On Monday, a neighbor of Warner’s, Rick Laude, told AP that the suspect spoke to him earlier this month at his mailbox.

Laude said he recalled asking him: “Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?” Warner’s reply was, “Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me,” according to Laude.

“Nothing about this guy raised any red flags,” Laude said. “He was just quiet.”