Donald Trump made a gross display of hurricane relief, playing around and throwing paper towels into the crowd of survivors, and joking about flashlights as only 7 percent of Puerto Rico has power.
Donald Trump conducted an utterly tone-deaf tour of Puerto Rico.
Seeming to think it was all a game, Trump threw out paper towels to a crowd of people in desperate need of supplies and told citizens they no longer need flashlights, even though only 7 percent of the island has power.
Yelling, “You don’t need ’em anymore,” Trump handed out the flashlights at an aid distribution point.
“Flashlights! You don’t need ’em anymore!” Pres. Trump says as he hands out flashlights at a Puerto Rico aid center. https://t.co/DdDOfQvXuq
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) October 3, 2017
The fun and games — Trump also hurricane survivors to “have a good time” — comes as FEMA released an update on the problems facing the island, and the situation continues to be dire.
FEMA told reporters that only 7 percent of the people in Puerto Rico have power, while thousands of homes have been destroyed and over 9,000 people are currently in shelters.
Trump appeared to be enjoying himself as he pivoted from right to left, launching the packages of supplies into the crowd.
— Bridge Project (@BridgeProject21) October 3, 2017
TRUMP: [Throws paper towels into the crowd, pivots to the left, throws out more paper towels]
Trump started his visit to the island with a strange session where he complained that “we’ve spent a lot of money in Puerto Rico,” while also insisting that the death toll there compared to Hurricane Katrina is proof he’s done a good job.
He showed that he still nurses a grudge against San Juan’s Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, shaking her hand but refusing to speak to her after she spoke to him. Cruz has been pleading for federal assistance to provide relief to Puerto Rico, while Trump has been dragging his feet.
Traditionally, there has been dignity to the behavior of American presidents while visiting their citizens in time of tragedy and strife brought on by natural disasters.
Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, did not turn his visits into odd cults of personality or inappropriate egocentric displays.
He stepped up to the task of being presidential effortlessly, while Trump continues to fumble and fail.