Lazy Saturday Reads: Trump Blames Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria


A bicyclist rides down a damaged road in Toa Alta, west of San Juan, Puerto Rico. RICARDO ARDUENGO AFP GETTY IMAGES

Good Morning!!

The illustrations in this post are scenes of the devastation in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Yesterday Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico begged for help from the “president” of the U.S. and/or anyone who could hear her plea. The transcript of her remarks from The Guardian:

“We are dying here. And I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out the logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles. So, mayday, we are in trouble.

“Fema [the Federal Emergency Management Administration] asks for documentation, I think we’ve given them enough documentation.”

“They had the gall this morning – look at this [gestures to two large binders filled with paper] – they had the gall this morning of asking me: ‘What are your priorities, mayor?’

“Well, where have you been?

“And I have been very respectful of the Fema employees. I have been patient but we have no time for patience any more.

“So, I am asking the president of the United States to make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives.

“They were up the task in Africa when Ebola came over. They were up to the task in Haiti [after the earthquake of 2010]. As they should be. Because when it comes to saving lives we are all part of one community of shared values.

“I will do what I never thought I was going to do: I am begging. I am begging anyone that 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 and bureaucracy.

“We will make it with or without you because what stands behind me is all due to the generosity of other people.

“Again, this is what we got last night: four pallets of water, three pallets of meals and 12 pallets of infant food. Which, I gave them to Comerío, where people are drinking out of a creek.

“So I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell because my people’s lives are at stake. And we are but one nation. We may be small, but we are huge in dignity and zealous for life.

“So I’m asking members of the press to send a mayday call all over the world. We are dying here. And if we don’t stop and if we don’t get the food and the water into people’s hands, what we we are going to see is something close to a genocide.

“So, Mr Trump, I am begging you to take charge and save lives. After all, that is one of the founding principles of the United States of North America. If not, the world will see how we are treated not as second-class citizens but as animals that can be disposed of. Enough is enough.”

Early this morning the fake “president” sat in his gold-plated golf club and responded to her on Twitter.

Next he attacked the media for reporting what is actually happening on the ground in Puerto Rico.

If people around the world didn’t know by now what a heartless, self-involved monster Trump is, they certainly know it now. It’s difficult even to write about this horror, because thinking about him makes me sick to my stomach. The comparisons to Bush and Katrina are completely inadequate. This is a whole new level of incompetence and true evil. Responses from Twitter:

More responses to the behavior of the useless piece of human garbage the Russians stuck us with:

Eric Boelert at Shareblue: Trump attacks Puerto Rico: “They want everything to be done for them.”

Residents in Puerto Rico have no power and many may not have power until 2018. There’s a dangerous shortage of water, food, and fuel, and Trump is blaming these American citizens for not doing their part in fix the situation….

Obviously, Trump is lashing out in response to the mounting criticism that his administration hasn’t done enough to help Puerto Rico, more than one week after the story demolished the island, and that he has taken a passive, indifferent approach compared to the active one he took when hurricanes barreled into Texas and Florida this summer.

Specifically, Trump’s responding to the righteous indignation of San Juan’s mayor who on Friday pleaded for American assistance.

Even when people are dying for lack of water and food and he has to power to help, Trump only cares about how the situation affects him.

Sarah Kendzior at Fast Company yesterday: Why Puerto Rico is not Trump’s Katrina.

As the hurricane hit, Facebook and Twitter filled with warnings from Puerto Rican officials telling residents to evacuate or die, videos of palm trees snapping, and homes collapsing, and then an agonizing drop in live reports as the island’s power grid and many transmission lines were destroyed. More anguish followed: Many Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland are still wondering if their loved ones are alive, and the mayor of San Juan wept as she declared a humanitarian crisis amid “apocalyptic”conditions. U.S. politicians ranging from Hillary Clinton to John McCain urged the federal government to send aid, while Latinx celebrities like Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez pledged money and asked for help.

As this disaster played out on U.S. soil, President Trump said nothing. When he finally tweeted on September 25, it was seemingly to cast blame: “Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble,” hetweeted, adding that “Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.”

That is what Donald Trump thought was sad about Puerto Rico, not the hospitals in rubble and the patients near death, not the shortage of food and water, not the millions of American citizens who lost their jobs and homes. Wall Street, not Puerto Ricans, won his pity. As president, he put this philosophy into practice, initially refusing to waive the Jones Act and allow supplies to be shipped to Puerto Rico unimpeded. The Jones Act was finally lifted on September 28. His rationale for the delay? “We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted,” he explained. Heaven forbid millions of desperate U.S. citizens disturb them.

Much as Hurricane Maria was a predictable catastrophe, so is Trump’s cruel reaction. It is what one would expect from a narcissist unable to detach an external crisis from his own reputation. Much as Trump invents fake threats–voter fraud, soaring crime, “The Bowling Green Massacre”–he denies real crises, often while fabricating fake triumphs. Even when dealing with a disaster that is, for once, not caused by him, Trump cannot fathom the suffering others experience as anything other than a potential blight on his image, and it appears that he attempts to remove that suffering from public view. On September 27, the White House announced that all U.S. lawmakers would be prohibited from visiting the island, thereby reducing oversight and official complaints about the botched recovery.

Please go read the rest if you haven’t already.

The Washington Post: Lost weekend: How Trump’s time at his golf club hurt the response to Maria.

As Hurricane Maria made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, there was a frenzy of activity publicly and privately. The next day, President Trump called local officials on the island, issued an emergency declaration and pledged that all federal resources would be directed to help.

But then for four days after that — as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico struggled for food and water amid the darkness of power outages — Trump and his top aides effectively went dark themselves.

Trump jetted to New Jersey that Thursday night to spend a long weekend at his private golf club there, save for a quick trip to Alabama for a political rally. Neither Trump nor any of his senior White House aides said a word publicly about the unfolding crisis.

Trump did hold a meeting at his golf club that Friday with half a dozen Cabinet officials — including acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke, who oversees disaster response — but the gathering was to discuss his new travel ban, not the hurricane. Duke and Trump spoke briefly about Puerto Rico but did not talk again until Tuesday, an administration official said.

Administration officials would not say whether the president spoke with any other top officials involved in the storm response while in Bedminster, N.J. He spent much of his time over those four days fixated on his escalating public feuds with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with fellow Republicans in Congress and with the National Football League over protests during the national anthem.

Click on the link to read the rest.

Aaron Blake at The Washington Post: Trump doesn’t get it on Puerto Rico. He just proved it by lashing out at San Juan’s mayor.

President Trump is facing growing — but still measured — criticism of the federal response to the devastation in Puerto Rico. So what does he do? Lash out at the mayor of a hurricane-ravaged city, naturally.

Trump responded Saturday morning to harsh critiques from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz by targeting her personally. The president accused the mayor of playing politics and succumbing to pressure from fellow Democrats to attack his administration. He also, remarkably, directly attacked her and other Puerto Rican officials’ leadership….

Anybody who is surprised at this from a president who attacked a former prisoner of war for being a prisoner war, criticized a Gold Star family and made fun of a reporter’s physical disability has a short memory. This is who Trump is. He doesn’t accept criticism and move on; he brings a bazooka to a knife fight — even when those wielding the knife are trying to save lives.

But it’s also hugely counterproductive. In three tweets, Trump has moved a simmering, somewhat-negative story for his administration to the front burner. He decided to attack a sympathetic character and turn this into a partisan political debate. Cruz is pleading for help by saying, “We are dying.” Trump essentially told her to stop complaining. He’s also arguing that somebody who is in charge of saving lives is somehow more interested in politics. That’s a stunning charge.

I wonder how the Republicans are going to defend their sorry-ass “president” this time?

That’s all I have the strength for this morning. What stories are you following?

58 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: Trump Blames Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Katrina Commander Swears On Live TV Over Puerto Rico Response
    “They’re trying to put lipstick on this pig, but this thing is moving too slow,” Russel Honoré says on CNN.

  2. dakinikat says:

    Hispanic Congressman moved to tears in Puerto Rico: ‘You’re costing lives, Mr. President’

    When asked by host Jim Scuitto how things were on the ground in PR, Gutierrez, who has family living on the island, paused before diving into what he saw.

    “They’re handing out maybe a bottle of water and one meal to a family of five or six,” he explained, “and that was after eight days. Some towns, not even that.”

    Referencing the president’s claim that his administration has done a “great job” responding to the Puerto Rican crisis, Gutierrez was unequivocal in his condemnation.

    “I think it isn’t a good job,” he said, “It’s a disgraceful job. The United States of America is the most powerful, wealthiest country in the world, and this is not a response that’s demonstrative of our power and wealth.

  3. dakinikat says:

    well, there’s a meme for everything

  4. bostonboomer says:


  5. bostonboomer says:


  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. NW Luna says:

    Trump doesn’t get it on Puerto Rico.

    He doesn’t get it on ANYTHING! The media helped Russia bring us Trump, and they are still tiptoeing around the reality that Trump is out to enrich himself, play golf, and be damned to America and the rest of the world except, of course, Russia.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      You are right he doesn’t get it but there is more. Can you hear the hostility when he is talking about non-whites or women who challenge him. The hatred is palpable. Even when it is in his own narcissistic interest to feign empathy or sympathy all he can muster is contempt.

  9. Enheduanna says:

    For me – reading and seeing this opens the floodgates – I’m a giant crybaby under most circumstances. I can’t even describe what is sitting underneath – the rage watching tRump’s racist response and disregard for human lives.

    • joanelle says:

      Me too, Enheduanna, as I read the exchange of the mayor begging him for help that he has the power to give, I had tears running down my face. I was going to ask how he can be so heartless, and then I remembered that he never really wanted to be president, he just wanted to prove he could trounce ‘the girl’ and take the presidency from HER.
      And the repulsive are so spineless or is it just greed not wanting to loose ‘total control’ by FIRING him.

      • joanelle says:

        Auugghh, wordpress, that was supposed to be repugs not repulsive (although they are) and he needed another whole country’s help to take the presidency from her!

  10. NW Luna says:

    BTW, great post BB; don’t know how you (and dak and JJ) put these together without going crazy. Is there no end to Trump’s fuckups? The rest of the free world is horrified by how callous and incompetent Trump is.

  11. Minkoff Minx says:

    I saw what happened on Maddow last night. (Regarding the PR mayor…) it was making me physically ill. At one point Rachel asked Cruz if she thought the prez slow reaction and uncaring response, or lack thereof, was on purpose…and Cruz said no. That she did not think he was behaving so badly intentionally. (I mean Cruz didn’t even say anything bad specifically toward tRump.) My mom was commenting…bullshit. But I felt she was being very careful what she said just so that she would not get the “wrath” of that orange asshole, but… What does it matter anyway…I just can’t express my disgust at tRump and his league.

    • bostonboomer says:

      You and me both.

    • Catscatscats says:

      I am sure she was being careful so he wouldn’t cause more harm to her city, her island, her people. Every time I think he can’t get any worse, he proves me wrong.

      • joanelle says:

        Because he knows his ‘party’ won’t do anything to oust him. They have totally trashed what little good thier brand may have had left

  12. RonStill4Hills says:

    GW was an out of touch idiot, there will never be an excuse for Katrina, but Trump is a monster. This is an existential threat of a different order.

  13. dakinikat says:

    • dakinikat says:

      But at many other times, journalists come up with overly convoluted explanations for Trump’s behavior (“this seemingly self-destructive emotional outburst is actually a clever political strategy!”) when simpler ones will suffice (“this is a self-destructive emotional outburst.”). In doing so, they violate both Ockham’s razor1 and Hanlon’s razor — the latter of which can be stated as “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” One can understand why journalists who rely on having close access to Trump avoid explanations that portray Trump as being irrational, incompetent or bigoted. But sometimes they’re the only explanations that make sense.

    • NW Luna says:

      Hear, hear! Quit enabling him. He’s callous, mean, devious, incompetent, and greedy. And a liar.

    • Fannie says:

      He is always looking for ways to kill the goodness in people, his words make me feel like he is murdering someone.

  14. dakinikat says:

  15. Pat Johnson says:

    Can Trump get more loathesome? I am sure he can.

    The most despicable man on the planet.

  16. dakinikat says:

    • Catscatscats says:

      I hope they also swing by the Virgin Islands if they need medical and aerial support. No one is talking about their recovery needs.

  17. dakinikat says:

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  19. dakinikat says:

    Just when I thought we’d found the bottom of teh stupid.

  20. Terrible destruction and suffering for the Puerto Rico people and I am ashamed of Trump, in every way possible. K D