As he golfed at his luxury resort in Virginia, Donald Trump allowed a waiver for the Jones Act to expire, raising the cost of food and supplies for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
As Donald Trump spent the day playing 18 holes of golf at his luxury resort in Virginia, he allowed the Jones Act to be reinstated in Puerto Rico. The effects of this action will ripple through the island, increasing the costs of food and other supplies from the population attempting to recover from the devastating hurricane.
After immense public pressure, on Sept. 28 the Trump administration temporarily lifted the Jones Act, which imposes many restrictions on companies shipping goods to the island from the mainland. At first, Trump expressed concerns about the small drop in revenue that multi-millionaire shipping tycoons would experience, but his stubborn position looked so bad that he relented.
The waiver was only good for 10 days, however. And it expired on the night of Oct. 8. As HuffPost reports, “The island will go back to paying much higher shipping costs to import supplies.”
Under normal circumstances, this has meant that Puerto Rico pays double the cost to bring in goods that neighboring Caribbean islands that are not part of the United States, such as Jamaica, pay. Following the devastation of Hurricane Maria, the reinstatement of the law could be a death sentence.
Democratic Rep. Nydia Velázquez of New York sounded the alarm before the expiration happened, asking the Trump administration to extend the suspension of the act for a year at least. In a statement, Velázquez said, “If the Jones Act is reinstated, building supplies will cost significantly more in Puerto Rico, compared to costs on the mainland.”
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona echoed Velázquez in a statement to HuffPost, noting, “Until we provide Puerto Rico with long-term relief, the Jones Act will continue to hinder much-needed efforts to help the people of Puerto Rico recover and rebuild from Hurricane Maria.”
Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan defended the repeal, claiming that “extending the waiver is unnecessary to support the humanitarian relief efforts.”
But that spin from the Trump administration comes as Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is asking Congress for help, describing the situation as a “humanitarian crisis” where “the unmet basic needs of the American citizens of Puerto Rico will become even greater” if help is not administered.
As the situation continued to unfold and Puerto Rico seeks help, Trump’s golfing companion, Sen. Lindsey Graham, made sure everyone knew the important news: the outcome of their jaunt. “President Trump shot a 73 in windy and wet conditions!” Graham tweeted gleefully.
It’s highly doubtful Puerto Ricans care about Trump’s golf score, especially considering it won’t even be seen by the thousands of people there who still lack basics like electricity — and who now will have to scrounge around even more for money to pay for food and supplies that Trump heartlessly jacked up in the midst of ongoing recovery efforts.