The Trump administration continues to cluelessly pat itself on the back for its response to Hurricane Maria while people are dying.
Donald Trump’s response to the devastation of Hurricane Maria has been heartless, clueless, and pathetic.
As 3 million Americans have been left without power in Puerto Rico, and nearly half the island is without drinkable water, Trump has focused most of his attention for the past week on attacking black athletes, occasionally interrupting his rage at the NFL to first blame Puerto Rico for its own devastation and subsequently, to make excuses for his delayed response, and then congratulate himself and his administration for the handling of the hurricane’s aftermath.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke even said this week that the story of Puerto Rico “is really a good news story,” praising the administration’s response to the devastation. Never mind that Trump has largely ignored the island, and that earlier in the week, he had said he was more concerned with the “shipping industry” than the people suffering on the island.
Asked to respond to Duke’s comments, Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, had a powerful response:
Well, maybe from where she’s standing, it’s a good news story. When you are drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from their buildings because — I’m sorry, but that really upsets me and frustrates me. I would ask her to come down here and visit the towns, and then make a statement like that, which frankly, it’s an irresponsible statement, and it contrasts with the statements of support that I have been getting since yesterday when I got that call from the White House. Damnit, this is not a good news story! This is a people are dying story. This is a life or death story. This is — there’s a truck load of stuff that cannot be taken to people story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water. If I could scream it a lot more louder — it’s not a good news story when people are dying, when they don’t have dialysis, and when the generators aren’t working and the oxygen isn’t provided for them. Where is there good news here?
Trump and his administration have shown utter callousness in response to each of the hurricanes that have devastated Americans in the last month. After Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Trump boasted that “such a small number” of people had died.
On Friday morning, Trump stated on Twitter, “Big decisions will have to be made as to the cost of its rebuilding!” This comes after Trump’s administration has repeatedly promised to rebuild Texas and Florida, following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. For Puerto Rico, though? Perhaps not so much.
Instead of largely ignoring the crisis, mentioning it only in the context of self-congratulations, Trump and his administration should listen to the people of Puerto Rico, who are desperately crying out for urgently needed help.
But that seems unlikely to happen. On Friday afternoon, Trump is flying to New Jersey to spend another weekend vacationing at his Bedminster golf club.