Instead of doing everything possible to help the people of Puerto Rico, the GOP is now insisting the devastation is just a made up story.
Donald Trump’s toxic and reckless attacks on the free press — as well as on the 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico trying to survive in the aftermath of the devastating hurricane — is seeping into the rest of his Republican Party.
Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry appeared on CNN Thursday morning to echo Trump’s baseless and offensive talking points, accusing the media of making up the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo cited statistics provided by the government about how so much of the island lacks access to survival basics like food, water, and electricity.
In response, Perry yelled that Cuomo was “simply just making this stuff up!”
PERRY: Does every single person have to have power the next day?
CUOMO: Crisis abated. The people who need food and water having it. Not 100 percent restored back to power. We get that this is a challenge.
PERRY: So if the water gets there five minutes late, is that a crisis?
CUOMO: It’s not a crisis. In places outside San Juan, they’re not even close to that.
PERRY: Quantify your claims, Mr. Cuomo. Quantify any of it. You can’t just make these claims and not put any metrics to it. Who is without, for how long? Who? How many people? Who are they?
CUOMO: You have less than half the country [sic] that has what you need to sustain life, without fresh water, power, food, place to live.
PERRY: Mr. Cuomo, you’re simply just making this stuff up. You’re making it up.
CUOMO: How am I making it up? What am I making up?
PERRY: If half the country [sic] didn’t have food or water, those people would be dying. And they’re not.
CUOMO: What — first of all. Congressman. When you look at the numbers that are being put out by FEMA, you do know that overwhelmingly, they still don’t have people with power restored —
CUOMO: — and many don’t have access to water. You do have dozens of people who have died—
PERRY: When you say access to water, Mr. Cuomo, do you mean wanting water out of the tap from a pump or do you mean water delivered, drinking water delivered by the U.S. Army or FEMA?
PERRY: What do you mean?
CUOMO: Both. When we’re there on the ground, still now, certainly getting hard pressure on water through the pipes there, that’s not happening. That’s related to the power. We know that.
PERRY: Because it requires electricity. That’s exactly right. But we’re delivering water to these people. We are delivering water to their homes.
CUOMO: I know, but it’s not enough. I’m not saying that the efforts aren’t in earnest—
PERRY: But what is enough? Tell me. Quantify what is enough that will satisfy your network. What is enough?
CUOMO: It’s not about my network. Come on, Congressman.
PERRY: It is about your network because no one else reports these things.
CUOMO: It’s about the people on the ground.
PERRY: We realize that!
CUOMO: Why are you — how can you get angry about the fact that people in Puerto Rico are suffering? It’s your job to help.
PERRY: I’m sad about the fact that people are suffering.
CUOMO: Then why would you fight over the need? The need is real!
PERRY: I’m not fighting over the need.
CUOMO: You just need to do more and you have to sustain the efforts, and the idea of talking about not being there forever seems insensitive, if not reckless, right now.
PERRY: See, senseless and reckless?
PERRY: Insensitive and reckless. Those are inflammatory terms used by you, but they don’t depict the real situation. The president is sensitive.
CUOMO: He just said they can’t stay there forever. How is that sensitive?
PERRY: Because it’s true! Forever?
Perry’s absurd and callous claims indicate that dismissing the facts and the very real needs of Puerto Ricans is the official Republican Party line now, because of Trump’s massive failure in leading the response to the natural disaster. While Americans suffer on the island, Trump and his allies like Perry have turned fire on their fellow Americans.
Trump has been ranting that disaster relief needs to end, as Puerto Ricans die.
Now Perry has taken to national TV to assist Trump, asserting that the statistics and reporting are false.
Republicans are failing to help Americans in Puerto Rico, and they are now constructing conspiracy theories to explain away the disaster.