President Donald Trump has been admonished for numerous controversial laws and actions during the first few months of his presidency, but recently, he has been in the spotlight for his lack of aid and attention to Puerto Rico’s devastating hurricane damages.
When Trump virtually ignored the whole natural disaster and pretended as if it didn’t even exist, he was called out for his lack of sympathetic comments about the destruction from the hurricanes, particularly Hurricane Maria. When he was called out, he decided that Puerto Rico was suddenly the most important situation happening, no longer the NFL predicament or “Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un.
Trump’s first tweet about Puerto Rico after the hurricane hit seemed more about how it was more of a burden than anything else: “Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble. Its old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well. #FEMA.” Trump seemed sadder about the money than the tragic conditions that Puerto Ricans are living in since the hurricane hit. Trump promised to “be there to help” on Sept. 19, when the country was first being hit by Maria, but in the aftermath, he has been hesitant to come to its aid.
He tweeted about Puerto Rico a few times among his rants about the national anthem and praises of people who agree with things he says, and he seemed positive about the Puerto Rican government until San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz called for more aid to Puerto Rico.
“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,” said Trump in a tweet on Sept. 30. “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and other in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job. The military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an amazing job. Puerto Rico was totally destroyed.”
Right after all of this, he started blaming the “fake news” for telling Puerto Ricans false things about him.
There is absolutely no way that people sent in to help Puerto Rico are the only ones actually doing anything. I know that during Hurricane Katrina, even though I was only eight, the community—including people in Mississippi and throughout the country—helped the people in need, whose homes were completely destroyed. But that situation was a little different because Katrina hit the mainland of the U.S. Puerto Rico, hit by two hurricanes consecutively, needs even more aid because they are an island, which in itself means more damage was done. In addition to both of these factors, Puerto Rico has lost a lot of communication, which is a very negative part of being an island because there is no “state” right next to it to come to its aid right away. It seems that Trump does not realize this though, and he obviously views Puerto Ricans differently from mainland Americans even though they are Americans.
To Trump, providing more aid to Puerto Rico, even though they were hit by two hurricanes, just costs too much and ensuring that his reputation is not tainted by “fake news” and is positive to Puerto Ricans seems almost or just as important as money. Puerto Ricans are Americans, too, and I think if he thought that, he would do more to help them.