Donald Trump continues to show a galling lack of urgency when it comes to saving millions of Americans in the wake of a devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico. And the mayor of San Juan minced no words in her responds, and her pleas for U.S. assistance.
Donald Trump’s responses to the massive hurricane and ensuing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico has been utterly devoid of any sense of urgency, compassion, or leadership.
It took him far too long to respond at all, and when he finally did, it was a bizarre series of crass reactions: blaming the country itself for its troubles; whining about the “very big ocean” making aid missions difficult; siding with shipping tycoons in his refusal to waive the Jones Act, which makes getting supplies to Puerto Rico impossible; even banning members of Congress from traveling to the island on military vehicles, in a poor attempt to cover up his own humiliation.
The mayor of the capital city San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, blasted the administration’s baffling assessment that the hurricane was “really a good news story,” going through all of the damage her country has sustained and asking, “Where is the good news here?”
Trump, of course, responded by playing the victim, not by stepping up and showing even a modicum of leadership.
And Cruz has plainly had enough of this administration’s lackadaisical attitude about the horrors the American citizens in Puerto Rico are facing.
“I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us to save us from dying,” she pleaded.
“If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency.”
So I am asking the president of the United States to make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives. They were up to the task in Africa when Ebola came over. They were up to the task in Haiti, as they should be. Because when it comes to saving lives, we are all part of one community of shared values.
I will do what I never thought I was going to do: I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency.
Senate Democrats have been doing everything they can to impel Trump and his team to real action, even sending a letter to the White House spelling out the steps they can and must take to support relief and recovery efforts.
But Trump has still shown the barest minimum of interest in doing anything beyond babbling on television about the “Big water. Ocean water,” that surrounds Puerto Rico. The island is still in dire need of more equipment, troops, and supplies.
And even after Cruz’s heartbreaking entreaty, Trump saw fit to hop on a plane and head off for a comfy weekend at his golf course in New Jersey.
This is a moment that demands leadership, dedication, and swift and thorough action from the White House.
But the man currently occupying it is incapable of any of those things, even when faced massive loss of life, and the desperate pleas for help from his own people.