Trump’s failures in Puerto Rico

As the humanitarian situation in Puerto Rico continues to worse, Donald Trump has as usual tried to have it multiple ways, blaming the lack of quick response on Puerto Rico being an island, then saying that his administration has done a wonderful job in relief efforts, and when it is pointed out that it has not done so, blaming lazy Hispanic people and their shiftless leaders, because he knows that attacking people of color plays well with his supporters.

Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who commanded the military response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, slammed Trump’s poor response to the plight of the people in Puerto Rico, saying that Trump is an “SOB who runs around on Air Force One'” who doesn’t “give a damn” about poor people or people of color and that the “big shots on Wall Street” are driving his actions.

Bernie Sanders was also not shy about accusing Trump of racism, while not explicitly using the word.

I want to ask you about Puerto Rico,” Tapper began. “What did you make of President Trump tweeting that Puerto Ricans, quote, ‘want everything to be done for them?’”

“You know,” Sanders sharply replied. “Speaking from his fancy golf club, playing golf with his billionaire friends, attacking the mayor of San Juan, struggling to bring electricity to the island, food to the island, water to the island, gas to the island, that is just — it is unspeakable!”

“I don’t know what world Trump is living in” the animated Vermont senator continued. “People in Puerto Rico are suffering one of the worst disasters in the history of that island. We have got to do everything we can to help them. We all have got to remember, the people of Puerto Rico are American citizens, entitled to the same help as the people of any other community in America.”

“The White House denies it, but there are a lot of critics who say that race or ethnicity may be playing a factor here,” Tapper asked. “What do you think?”

“Well, look,” Sanders explained. “Given the president’s history on race, given the fact that he, a few months ago, told us that there were good people on both sides, when neo-Nazis were marching in Charlottesville, yeah, I think we have a right to be suspect that he is treating the people of Puerto Rico in a different way than he has treated then people of Texas or Florida.”

As usually, the prickly Trump attacked Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, for her criticisms of the relief efforts. Trump never lets a slight go unreturned but as I have observed before, the one person that Trump has not lashed back at is LeBron James, though the latter called him a ‘bum’. He has not lashed out at Honore yet either. Trump seems to be in awe ofthe military and people who are big and tall. Maybe that is why he has not yet gone after James and Honoré.

Saturday Night Live also took on Trump’s racism on display in this crisis, calling him even more names.


  1. Matt G says

    I don’t think it’s about race. I think it’s about religion. A high percentage of Puerto Ricans are Christian, and not helping them is just another example of how persecuted Christian are by our government.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    I have no idea of the logistical problems of getting food to Puerto Rico, or whether more could have been done before the storm (probably) or whether a better president would have saved lives.

    What I am learning, though, is that the words of a president really do matter. Most of the time, when something like this happens, the president’s response sounds extremely scripted. We expect lots of “doing everything we can” “thoughts and prayers” “support our first responders and military” “more needs to be done.” We’ve all heard Obama and Shrub give the speech dozens of times.

    But those words really do matter. People want comfort in trauma, and they want to know someone is looking out for them. They don’t want grandstanding; they don’t want a president who sounds more interested in his own ratings than their suffering. That’s an exceedingly low bar to cross, and he’s run flat into it.

  3. busterggi says

    Puerto Rico should be grateful for Trump’s treating them like the rest of America, assuming the rest of America enjoys forced anal sex.

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