Donald Trump thinks he's doing a great job in his response to the devastation in Puerto Rico. Americans disagree.
At times it seemed Donald Trump’s trip to the storm-ravaged island of Puerto Rico on Tuesday was more about generating praise for himself then it was providing relief for the 3 million American citizens on the island.
Over and over, Trump bragged about what a great job the federal government has done in recent weeks, and over and over he urged locals to spout praise for him.
The trip might have been nothing more than an attempted ego-stroke for Trump, but most Americans see through the act and give him very low marks for the relief effort in the wake of the Hurricane Maria, which decimated Puerto Rico.
Just 33 percent of Americans approve of how Trump is handling disaster relief in the U.S. territory, while 49 percent disapprove, according to a new Associated Press poll.
Those marks are noticeably lower than how Americans grade Trump on his handling of recent hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida: 48 percent approve of that, and just 27 percent disapprove.
As Tara Blesh-Boren, 34, a registered independent from Lincoln, Nebraska, told the Associated Press, “He is so busy getting his ego involved in these ridiculous back-and-forth arguments about things that don’t matter to anyone but him that he is really not managing our country.”
It’s telling that just 62 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s Puerto Rico disaster response. Traditionally, Trump polls in the very high 70s and low 80s among Republicans, almost regardless of the issue.
Trump’s entire response to the island catastrophe has been bewildering and insulting. The federal government seemed slow to deliver hurricane relief, perhaps because Trump seemed obsessed instead with picking fights with NFL players when the storm first hit.
When Trump finally turned his attention toward Puerto Rico, he quickly squared off with local officials and “politically motivated ingrates,” blaming them for the slow going.
And when he wasn’t blaming officials on the island, he was bragging about how amazing the relief effort was.
“People can’t believe how successful that has been, relatively speaking,” he announced last week.
The Associated Press poll was taken before Trump visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday. But it’s hard to imagine there was much from his brief trip — which was filled with weird, inappropriate behavior — that would likely change many minds in terms of scoring his relief effort.
“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” Trump awkwardly announced at one point. Meanwhile, most of the island remains without power, and most of the island’s schools aren’t expected to be operational until next year.
Americans don’t want a president to pick a fight with hurricane survivors. They want a president to deliver relief.