Even though it’s gotten more attention lately, I still don’t think Donald Trump’s pathetically inept response to Hurricane Maria devastating Puerto Rico is getting the attention it deserves. For me this story isn’t just about how bad things currently are in the U.S. territory, it’s how this administration sat around for a week, doing next to nothing, as the island dealt with historic catastrophic destruction.
Sure, his jaw-dropping attacks on the mayor of San Juan, as well as his embarrassing comments he made during his visit Tuesday also deserve plenty of attention, but I still don’t think the media is doing enough to make people aware that Trump seemed completely oblivious to the fact that Puerto Rico was a U.S. territory until several days after the storm had hit.
Though what’s even more sickening to me isn’t how piss-poor the response has been, it’s how Trump continued to blatantly lie about the current state of Puerto Rico and his administration’s shameful response to the massive hurricane that wreaked havoc on the island. He’s essentially called the people who’ve been there and witnessed what’s been going on liars, while he spends most of the time he talks about Puerto Rico — actually talking about himself.
Still, I think there are some facts that definitely need to be emphasized more.
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20th — Trump didn’t send out his first tweet about the storm until September 25th. Even when he did, he didn’t offer condolences about the death and destruction Puerto Rico was dealing with.
Instead, Trump decided to rant about their infrastructure, debt, and how the money they owe to Wall Street must be dealt with.
For those wondering, during that same span, Trump sent out 19 tweets about the NFL and/or National Anthem before he said anything about Puerto Rico
Days after the island had been ravaged by a powerful Category 4 hurricane, Trump spent most of his time attacking the NFL, withdrawing invitations to visit the White House, and whining because he clearly harbors a deep disdain for our First Amendment.
While I know mostly brown people who speak Spanish live in Puerto Rico, which means Trump and most of his supporters don’t care much about it, it’s still an American territory home to 3 million American citizens. Can you imagine if Trump had gone five days without tweeting about Hurricane Harvey or Irma?
That’s exactly what he did after Maria leveled Puerto Rico.
As I alluded to earlier, based on what I’ve seen and heard, initially, I don’t think Trump was aware that Puerto Rico was a U.S territory or even where, exactly, it was located. Over the last several days Trump’s made repeated references to Puerto Rico being an island — as if people weren’t aware of the fact.
Oh, and did you know, islands are surrounded by water? Trump made sure to inform everyone of that, too.
Trump has seemingly tried to excuse his incompetent response to Hurricane Maria by acting as if reaching the island is some daunting task, repeatedly trying to paint Puerto Rico as some isolated island in the middle of the “big ocean” known as the Atlantic. When the truth is it’s just over 1,000 miles off the coast of Florida, making it easily and quickly reachable by military plane or ship.
Yet it took him over a week to send a general to the island to help assess damages and help coordinate relief efforts.
Even when he was initially asked about temporarily lifting the Jones Act (a move that would help get life-saving supplies to the island), Trump hesitated, saying that he was hearing that shippers didn’t want it lifted.
For the most part, in what is an obvious attempt to make himself look good (much in the way Trump did with Hurricane Harvey), Trump’s spent most of the time bragging about his response to Puerto Rico, often bringing up how officials there keep telling him how grateful they are for his help. Even Trump’s acting Homeland Security Secretary, Elaine Duke, pathetically called the administration’s response a “good news story.”
Obviously, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz seemed to take offense to that assessment.
“Maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story,” Cruz told CNN.
“When you are drinking from a creek it’s not a good news story,” she added. “When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story.”
See, for Trump, everything is about trying to make himself look good. He’s never going to admit that his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria was inadequate, even though it most definitely was. That would mean admitting that he did something wrong — and Trump never does that. Instead, Trump’s going to do what he always does: lie and attack anyone who calls him out.
Which is what prompted him to spend several tweets lashing out at San Juan’s mayor, calling her a “nasty” woman (among other things). All because she dared to debunk the lies Trump was trying to tell about his administration’s response to the disaster.
As always, he’s the only one telling the truth, while anything negative about him is “fake news” from the “dishonest and unfair media” which is “out to get him.”
By the way, just as the storm had moved on from Puerto Rico, with the island in desperate need of food and water, Trump was spending a long weekend at his golf resort in New Jersey — where he proceeded to spend most of his time ranting about the NFL.
At least he waited a few days to dedicate a golf trophy to the victims of the recent hurricanes.
As I’ve said so many times since Trump launched his campaign, you really can’t make some of this stuff up.
No matter how Trump, his administration, or his supporters try to spin this, there’s no denying that his response to this disaster rivals the incompetence seen following Hurricane Katrina. A “president” who seemed more concerned with attending campaign rallies in Alabama, attacking the NFL, and golfing than he was with addressing a dire situation in a U.S. territory where people have died, while millions struggled without food, water, shelter, or even electricity.
We cannot let Donald Trump get away with this. We cannot sit by and dismiss this as just “Trump being Trump.”
This was incompetence at the highest level of our government. With lives destroyed and people dying in Puerto Rico, the current “president” spent a weekend ranting about the NFL, golfing at his resort, and didn’t tweet a single thing about the devastation on the island until five days after the storm had passed.
Not only did this “president” not seem to care about what was going on in Puerto Rico, based on what we’ve all witnessed, I think it’s safe to say that he wasn’t even aware that the island is a U.S. territory home to millions of American citizens.
Since then, Trump’s continued to make what’s going on in Puerto Rico more about him, his own ego, and trying to conceal his administration’s shameful response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. He couldn’t care less about the people there. As with everything else concerning Trump, he’s made this all about him.
The main difference between Trump’s response to this hurricane and the other two that hit Texas and Florida is that Puerto Rico is “out of sight, out of mind.” It’s just an island many Americans, especially Trump supporters, probably don’t even realize is a U.S. territory home to millions of Americans.
Donald Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria is a damn disgrace and will serve as another moment history will look back on with shame and disgust that there were millions of people who were ignorant enough to think that he should be “president.”