Just when I thought it wasn’t possible for Donald Trump to be even more vile, he proved me wrong. On Saturday morning, Trump took to twitter to slam the Mayor of San Juan in a series of tweets because she had dared to tell the world that the people of Puerto Rico were dying because of the Trump’s administration failure to act.
In fact, vile is not even the right word to use to describe Trump’s tweetstorm – launched from his exclusive private country club before he’s expected to play golf – attacking the Mayor of San Juan who is currently on an island ravished by Hurricane Maria that has almost no electricity, little safe drinking water, limited functioning hospitals and a growing death toll. Even Marie Antoinette would have blushed.
This is all started because San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz had made an emotional, tear filled plea at a press conference last night where she was literally begging Trump and the world for help to save lives: “We’re dying here. We truly are dying here…If anyone can hear us; if Mr. Trump can hear us, let’s just get it over with and get the ball rolling.”
The plea of Mayor Cruz was so moving that when I played her comments last night on my SiriusXM radio show I had to pause and collect myself because I was crying just listening to the emotion in her voice. Another listener to my show – a truck driving U.S. Military vet – whose call I took right after playing Cruz’s plea was also clearly overcome by emotion, fighting back tears while saying he wants to volunteer to go to Puerto Rico to drive a truck to help deliver supplies to help those in need.
That is how human beings with any sense of empathy and compassion respond. But, of course, that is not how Trump responded. He made the humanitarian crisis of Puerto Rico all about himself.
Trump – who last weekend demanded black NFL players stand up – is now demanding the Brown Mayor of San Juan shut up. He slammed Mayor Cruz in a series of tweets, calling her in essence a “nasty” women: “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.”
And then he took a shot at all the leaders of Puerto Rico -and arguably even the people of the island-because he feels they are being ungrateful to him: “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.” He added, “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”
Want everything done for them?! They simply want to save the lives of the people there! But as we all saw firsthand, for the last 9 days Trump has been more focused on forcing black NFL athletes to stand up as opposed to focusing on the deadly crisis in Puerto Rico. And Trump’s relief effort for Puerto Rico makes that very point.
Just look at the comparison between the response to Hurricane Katrina and Puerto Rico’s crisis. As NBC has reported, only seven days after Katrina hit, FEMA had delivered 25 million meal kits, 31 million liters of water and had more than 2,700 workers in place. In a striking contrast, nine days after Hurricane Maria hit,
Puerto Rico has received only from FEMA “4.4 million meal kits, 6.5 million liters of water and 600 workers.”
And while the USS Comfort floating hospital is now on it’s way to help the people of Puerto Rico, it only set sail yesterday! Why did it take nine days to depart when we all know that an horrific hurricane was bearing down on Puerto Rico days before it happened?!
Add to that as noted by former General Russel Honore – who headed George W. Bush’s Katrina relief effort- the Trump administration should have had more troops and supplies in place before the storm hit. Plus Honore was adamant that as of two days ago there should’ve been over 20,000 U.S. military troops on the ground helping to deliver supplies, clear roads, repair electrical grids, etc. Honore put it bluntly, “This is a hit on White House decision making.”
He’s right. This is all due to Trump’s failed leadership. And sadly, the people of Puerto Rico – our fellow U.S. citizens – are suffering and more will die because Trump’s focus is more about slamming the Mayor of San Juan, getting positive media coverage and forcing NFL’s black athletes to stand up than helping those in need.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.