“Trump doesn’t care about Puerto Rico,” wrote one. “Trump’s Tuesday visit to San Juan was a chance to begin to repair the wounds he had caused over a week of tweeted insults. Instead he casually tore them open, a smile on his face”, wrote another. “It was vintage Trump — informal, freewheeling, self-centred, detached from facts, wholly unlike the behaviour of any other modern president.”
“President Donald Trump faced a major test on Tuesday as he traveled to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico: He failed. Hugely” added CNN. “Trump delivered a navel-gazing, self-championing, victimhood-seeking speech that reeked of tone-deafness and out-of-touch-ism. Even for this President, who has redefined presidential — and not for the better — this is a truly remarkable low.”
Indeed, as the national and international outrage continues to grow at the lack of action over Puerto Rico, Mexico offered aid to the island yesterday.
On his visit, Trump infuriated many people he met by saying the island had not suffered a “real catastrophe” because the death toll was so low (he got the figures wrong) unlike Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, which had over a thousand deaths. Those comments “rubbed salt in a festering wound” noted one commentator.
In one stomach-churning photo op, Trump threw rolls of paper towels into a crowd, which was described by Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, as “terrible and abominable”. She added that Trump’s visit had been “insulting” and called him a “miscommunicator-in-chief”.
To add insult to injury, Trump told the islanders, millions of whom have no electricity or water, that “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that’s fine.”
Maybe, people have pointed out, Trump should stop moaning about spending money on hurricane victims and start addressing the causes of climate change, which help fuel the destructive nature of the hurricane. Many people considered Puerto Rico a “canary in the coal mine” regarding climate change and a warning that we have to do things differently.
Indeed, the former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief, Craig Fugate, has told the Trump Administration “You have to look at climate change science if you want smarter disaster relief”, according to Mother Jones. Speaking on Tuesday, Fugate said the US needs to “build to future risk.” During the speech, Fugate said “We’re putting vulnerable populations and your tax dollars at risk,” by not considering climate change.
But not only does Trump deny climate change, but he is also still donating billions in free handouts to the oil industry. Earlier this week, Oil Change International launched a report showing that the Trump Administration is still spending billions of dollars on subsidising the fossil fuel industry.
The author of that report, Janet Redman, told In These Times that Trump’s statements about the budget impacts of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico were “morally offensive”.
Redman added: “That he would have the gall to say there’s not money for recovery for American families, taxpayers and workers, really shows Trump’s primary agenda: to serve the fossil fuel industry, not the American public—either here in the mainland or in parts of the country that aren’t right in front to this face.”
Meanwhile, as removed from reality as ever, Trump tweeted it had been a “great day” in Puerto Rico.