Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

Yep, the image still puzzles

Not quite a year ago Donald Trump ventured to Puerto Rico and promptly made an ass of himself.

He did it with his mouth and with the gesture pictured above. He tossed rolls of paper towels at a crowd of people who had come to hear the president offer words of comfort and encouragement as they struggled with the aftermath of a killer hurricane named Maria.

I have watched that video countless times and I am left to wonder: What in the name of humanitarian relief was the president trying to convey with that silly gesture?

Then came this Twitter message from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and frequent Trump critic: Almost a year later, Trump is reportedly still fuming over this video. In the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, he’s more concerned about his public image than the deaths of thousands of Americans. Absolutely sickening.

In a weird sort of way, I understand the president’s “fuming” over the video of him tossing the paper towels. What I don’t understand is at whom is he angry? If he’s mad at staffers who might have told him that flipping the towels would make good “optics,” then I sort of get why he’s hot under the collar.

Then again, he should’ve known better. Isn’t this guy a TV “reality show” star who’s supposed to be media savvy enough to know what makes good optics and what goes over like passing gas in a spacesuit?

Well, you live and learn. Unless you’re Donald Trump … and you know all there is to know already.

This is how a POTUS with no shame functions

Donald John Trump is actually proud of his shamelessness.

He takes pride, or so it appears, in the notion that he won’t apologize for mistakes. He won’t even acknowledge them. He speaks from his gut and let’s it stand. Or … he doubles or triples down on the thoughtless and arrogant statement that flies out of his mouth, or gets blasted into the Twitter-verse.

Thus, we have a president of the United States refusing to back down on that idiotic, brainless, evidence-free, crass and despicable statement that nearly 3,000 Americans didn’t die when Hurricane Maria blasted through Puerto Rico one year ago.

The president has said, in effect, that the loved ones who lost 2,975 of their own in that terrible storm are fake. They aren’t really grieving. They aren’t mourning their loss.

Trump has disparaged the independent review of the Puerto Rican territorial government that established a death toll that, by golly, exceeded the number of victims who perished when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Trump tweeted this: “When Trump visited the island territory last October, OFFICIALS told him in a briefing 16 PEOPLE had died from Maria.” The Washington Post. This was long AFTER the hurricane took place. Over many months it went to 64 PEOPLE. Then, like magic, “3000 PEOPLE KILLED.” They hired….

And then this: ….GWU Research to tell them how many people had died in Puerto Rico (how would they not know this?). This method was never done with previous hurricanes because other jurisdictions know how many people were killed. FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER – NO WAY!

Meanwhile, as the Carolina coast was bracing for the Hurricane Florence onslaught, the president had the gall to declare the federal response to Hurricane Maria an “unsung success.”

It was nothing of the sort.

A president with a sense of shame would acknowledge that the government he was elected to lead could have done better.

Not this fellow. He is merely “telling it like it is.”

Disgraceful.

Hey, Mr. POTUS, what about the rest of the country?

It has become an established fact that Donald John Trump Sr. loves talking exclusively to those who support him no matter what.

He speaks their language; they adhere to his message.

The latest so-called “dog whistle” was blasted out today when the president fired off a Twitter message in which — and this is really rich — he actually denied that nearly 3,000 Americans died from the wrath brought to Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria.

He blames the death toll on Democrats who are intent on making him look bad. That’s it! The Puerto Rico territorial government’s death toll, revised way upward from a formerly official count of 64 fatalities, is a plot, a conspiracy.

He made this astonishing, idiotic and utterly baseless claim as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolina coast, threatening to bring even more havoc to the Eastern Seaboard.

Let’s talk, briefly, about his Puerto Rico remarks.

It’s easy to say that the president doesn’t know what he’s talking about. However, he knows precisely what he’s saying. He is speaking to his “base,” the 35 or so percent of voting-age Americans who are behind him to the very end. The base doesn’t care about the truth. It doesn’t care about reality. It cares only that Trump stands up to the so-called “mainstream media,” those who oppose him.

Trump himself declared during the 2016 campaign that he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes.” Americans were aghast in the moment when Trump said it. That boast doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous now.

So he continues to talk to the base. He continues to make assertions without a scintilla of evidence to back them up. Democrats are to blame for the deaths of all those U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico? Millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016? He watched “thousands of Muslims” cheering the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11? Barack Hussein Obama was born in Kenya and was ineligible to run for president?

That’s what I call “fake news.”

That’s it, Mr. POTUS: Blame the Dems for all those PR deaths!

Donald J. “Tweeter in Chief” Trump is at it again.

He is offering yet another evidence-free accusation against his political opponents. This time, it involves what he alleges is the purposely inflated death toll from Hurricane Maria, the storm that killed 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico.

Oh, my. You just gotta pull your hair out!

The president tweeted the following:

3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…

And then he followed it up with this gem:

…..This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!

There you have it. It’s all about the president. He blames Democrats who want to make him look “as bad as possible.”

This man disgraces his office daily, if not hourly.

Trump getting serious backlash

Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 American citizens. The island territory was decimated. Federal authorities were slow on the uptake. That is beyond doubt, debate or discussion.

The president’s latest Twitter tirade dishonors the memory of those who perished. Rest assured, the shrinking political base that follows Trump’s every lie will buy it part and parcel.

Disgraceful.

Storm response might reveal truth about Maria

Donald J. Trump, as is his habit, told a serious lie when looking back on the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria’s devastating attack on Puerto Rico.

He called it an “unsung success,” which it wasn’t. It was a disastrous display of incompetence.

So … now the administration is preparing for another monstrous storm. Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the Carolina coast. Federal emergency management officials have ordered evacuations along Atlantic coasts of North and South Carolina.

The president said this week that “we’re ready” for the storm to make landfall. It will land likely as a Category 4 monster, packing winds of 150 mph, producing storm surges exceeding a dozen feet and bringing as much as 2 feet of rainfall.

We’re about to see just how well the government can respond to Mother Nature’s wrath. In a curious sense, we’ll also get to compare this response to what the president described as a glowing success a year ago when Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico.

I damn sure want the government to deliver on its promise of being “ready” for this storm, even if its response to Hurricane Florence reveals where the feds fell short in the Caribbean.

The nation is hoping for the best.

Puerto Ricans are Americans, too

I honestly don’t know if there’s been an uptick in the Age of Trump in episodes such as the one shown on the video below.

But it surely gives me pause. Yes, there seems to be more of these kinds of episodes being reported these days.

The video that has gone viral demonstrates the absolute hateful ignorance of some Americans. The guy in this video is berating a young woman for wearing a shirt that depicts the flag of Puerto Rico.

He said she needed to wear an “American” shirt. The woman reminded the man of what is obvious to most of us: that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.

An interesting back story developed as well. The police officer shown in the video didn’t respond to help the woman; he didn’t get the man to back off. He was put on leave by his department and then he resigned.

This whole Puerto Rico issue came to a head this past summer in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which savaged the island territory. The federal government was accused of dragging its feet to help the island’s 3.5 million residents. Why the delay? Critics said the government didn’t feel the need to rush to Puerto Ricans’ aid the way it did in, say, Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey.

But the idiot shown in this video personifies hateful ignorance that cannot be tolerated.

This is a contentious time in our nation’s history. We must not allow frightening bullies to intimidate their fellow Americans.

Heroes are answering the call again

Here we go yet again.

Fires explode across tens of thousands of acres, driven great distances by hurricane-force winds. Homes are incinerated. People’s lives are put in extreme jeopardy. Prized possessions vanish in the extreme heat.

Who answers the call to help? The firefighters, police, emergency medical personnel. That’s who.

It’s happening yet again in southern California. Those dreaded Santa Ana winds are devastating a region and imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.

It should go without saying, but these men and women are the truest heroes imaginable. They run into the firestorm. They fight these unspeakable forces from the air and on the ground. They expose themselves to heat, flame, smoke and utter exhaustion.

And then we have neighbors helping neighbors. They, too, deserve our prayers and good wishes as they all — every one of them — battle to save what they can against forces far stronger than anything they can ever hope to control.

This has been a tough year for so many Americans. The Texas Gulf Coast and Florida are still battling to recover from the savagery of hurricane wind and rain. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands residents cannot yet get full power and potable water restored after enduring their own misery from yet another storm.

The Santa Rosa fires up north from the inferno that is engulfing southern California at this moment brought their own measure of agony to beleaguered residents and the responders who rushed to their aid.

We should salute them all. We should pray for their safety. We should hope for as speedy a recovery as is humanly possible.

Thank you, heroes. All of you make the rest of us so proud.

Trump cannot stop needling Americans in need

I’m trying to imagine Donald J. Trump threatening to pull federal workers out of a disaster zone if it were in, say, Wyoming. Or Alabama. Or Oklahoma.

Residents of those states voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016. Do you think he’d treat them in the same disgraceful manner that he’s treating residents of Puerto Rico?

The president is playing a ridiculous game of political chicken, though, with Puerto Rico, which is suffering from a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. He has fired Twitter barbs at the San Juan mayor, who has chided the president for the criticism he has leveled at her.

Now he’s delivering threats of a new kind. He says he could pull federal emergency workers out of Puerto Rico if the local government doesn’t start doing more on its own to recover from the savage beating delivered by Hurricane Maria.

Trump blames PR?

Politico reports: “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes,” Trump wrote on Twitter in a series of posts. “Congress to decide how much to spend. We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

He keeps appearing to blame Puerto Rico officials for their inability to maintain certain infrastructure. He went to the island territory and needled the Puerto Ricans because they had drained the nation’s Treasury. “But that’s all right,” Trump said, seeming to make light of the comment he had just made. I doubt any Puerto Rico officials were laughing along with him.

Of course he cannot keep the federal first responders there “forever.” But good grief, can’t he just keep his trap shut and stop chiding the 3.5 million Americans who are suffering through a disaster of unspeakable proportions?

For the umpteenth time, Mr. President: Puerto Ricans are American citizens, too. They need — and deserve — the nation’s unqualified support and assistance.

‘New low’ for Trump? Yes, but only for now

James Fallows, a journalist of some renown, says Donald J. Trump’s tweet tirades relating to the criticism he’s taking over the government’s response to Hurricane Maria have taken the president to a “new low.”

I agree. I’ll add this caveat, though. It’s a bad news/worse news scenario. The bad news is that Trump’s criticism of local Puerto Rico officials does constitute a “new low” for the president; the worse news is that he quite likely is capable of taking this presidential petulance to an even lower level.

Fallows wrote this in The Atlantic: But his Twitter outburst this morning — as he has left Washington on another trip to one of his golf courses, as millions of U.S. citizens are without water or electricity after the historic devastation of Hurricane Maria, as by chance it is also Yom Kippur — deserves note. It is a significant step downward for him, and perhaps the first thing he has done in office that, in its coarseness, has actually surprised me.

Donald Trump has taken his presidency to a level none of us has ever seen. He’s dragged it to a point that absolutely nothing this guy says or does publicly henceforth would surprise me. Nothing.

He once boasted that he could “shoot someone” and his voters would still support him. I don’t believe he actually would do such a thing, but he’s demonstrating an astonishing knack for doing anything short of that while still engendering support among his Republican voter “base.”

Hurricane Maria has all but destroyed Puerto Rico. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz criticized the president and the federal government’s response to the island’s pleas for help. What does Trump do? He fires off tweets over the weekend — while hobnobbing at his posh New Jersey resort. Let that sink in for a moment: 3.5 million U.S. citizens are without food, potable water and other supplies and the president criticizes Puerto Ricans for wanting the feds “to do everything for them.”

His Twitter tirades have become a virtual staple of the president’s daily activities.

As Fallows writes: I can think of no other example of a president publicly demeaning American officials in the middle of coping with disaster. There were nasty “God’s punishment!” remarks about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, but they did not come from the White House or George W. Bush.

I wish I could believe that there’s no way this president can drag his conduct any farther downward. I am left to wait for the next “new low” to slap us in the face.

How can Trump blunder this part of his job?

The president of the United States takes an oath of office that implies a lot of unwritten responsibilities in addition to those that are explicitly laid out.

One of those tasks the president assumes is to lend aid, comfort, empathy and understanding to Americans in trouble. The president at this moment has a huge undertaking on his hands. It rests on island territories not terribly far from the east coast of the United States.

Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have been decimated by Hurricane Maria. Local officials there are pleading for more help. Yes, they are critical of the president’s public response to their pleas. So, what does Donald John Trump do in response? He fires off tweets that place much of the blame for the islands’ troubles … on the islands themselves.

Such as this one: “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.”

It doesn’t stop there. The president takes public note of Puerto Rico’s debt problems that existed prior to Maria’s violent arrival and wonders aloud just how the federal government is going to be able to provide all the assistance that local authorities are seeking.

Trump ignites Twitter tirade

As The Hill reports: “San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz held an emotional press conference Friday ripping the Trump administration’s efforts to assist the island.

“I will do what I never thought I was going to do. I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency,” she said.

Trump responds to that with more criticism of the mayor. Empathy? Compassion? They appear to be MIA. He’s effectively making himself — big surprise, eh? — the center of this story.

The president’s team keeps telling us he’s “a fighter,” that he doesn’t like getting hit. So, when someone throws a rhetorical punch at him, he’s going to punch back. Does it matter to Trump that the person in this instance who’s throwing punches is desperate for federal aid to save the island where she lives and the city she governs? Quite obviously no.

I’ll reiterate yet again that the president is failing to fulfill the unwritten part of his job description. He’s not lending aid and comfort to his constituents who need help. He’s inflaming an already-critical situation with heartless rhetoric.

Shameful.