When it comes to Donald Trump, nothing surprises me — literally nothing. If a story broke right now informing the country that Trump had cut a deal to snitch on his children for colluding with Russia, I wouldn’t be shocked. Heck, if Trump suddenly vanished, then resurfaced in Russia alongside Vladimir Putin seeking protection from “Obama’s deep state,” that wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
Donald Trump is someone who I honestly believe has no “moral compass.” The only thing I think he cares about is himself, what he wants, and doing what’s in his own best interests.
So when I’ve sat here and witnessed his pathetic response, and completely inexcusable behavior toward Puerto Rico following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, I wasn’t remotely surprised.
Since all of this began, many have debated the “whys” behind his comments and behavior. I’ve never quite understood those debates considering this is who he is, has been, and always will be.
For starters, initially, I don’t think Trump had any idea Puerto Rico was a U.S. territory home to 3 million Americans. Before this happened, Puerto Rico was just some island down south in the “big ocean” where he once bankrupted a golf course. That’s why it took him five days after the storm ravaged the island before he sent out a single tweet about it.
But the truth is, the reason why Trump’s response to the crisis in Puerto Rico has been such an embarrassment is because there’s nothing in it for him. By that I mean, it’s an island just over 1,000 miles off the coast of Florida that most of his supporters probably don’t even know is a U.S. territory home to 3 million American citizens. And even if they are aware of that fact, I can guarantee the vast majority of them (because I’ve heard this from conservatives before) don’t view Puerto Ricans as real Americans.
To them they’re simply some Spanish-speaking islanders out near Cuba… somewhere. In the minds of your typical Trump supporter, that’s not “real America.”
So why would he care?
It’s not as if his inept response to Puerto Rico is going to impact how his supporters view him. After all, if they don’t care that the island is a U.S. territory, and don’t view the citizens living there as real American citizens, why would they care how they’re treated or spoken to by this “president”?
It’s not as if the people of Puerto Rico are going to help Trump get re-elected in 2020 or vote in members of Congress who are going to help him pass legislation.
Just look at the way he tried to downplay the significance of Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico, claiming it wasn’t a “real catastrophe” because the storm didn’t cause nearly the same number of causalities as Hurricane Katrina.
Well, neither did Harvey or Irma, but I didn’t see Trump telling the people of Texas or Florida that those two storms weren’t “real catastrophes.” I didn’t see Trump “joke” about how helping both states recover from the destruction caused by those storms was really going to hurt his budget. I didn’t see Trump wait five days before sending out his first tweet about either storm. I didn’t see Trump toss supplies at the people of Texas or Florida like they were contestants on a game show.
Of course not, because Texas and Florida benefit Trump politically — there’s something in it for him to help the people living in those states. They’re not some island just over 1,000 miles off the mainland where Trump can more easily lie about how awful his response to the devastation has been.
As they say, out of sight, out of mind.
Had Trump responded to Texas and Florida the way he did Puerto Rico, that would have meant severe negative ramifications for him politically. The same can’t be said for Puerto Rico. He knows most of his supporters either have no idea that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, or simply don’t view the people living there as “real Americans.” So they couldn’t care less about his administration’s response to this disaster, or how shameful his comments about the situation have been.
The bottom line is, there was nothing in it for Donald Trump to care about Puerto Rico. In his mind, it’s just some island out in the middle of nowhere home to millions of Spanish-speaking brown people who most of his supporters don’t think are “real Americans.”