Trump’s Response to Puerto Rico Tragedy - The Herald: Opinion

Trump’s Response to Puerto Rico Tragedy

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Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 1:09 pm

As usual, President Trump has been attracting some criticism lately. The latest Trump outrage involves Hurricane Maria and the devastation in Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States.

Many believe that the Trump administration’s response to the hurricane was inadequate. Admittedly, when Maria struck Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, the administration was quick to act, but shortly after went radio-silent for four days while Trump spent time in his private club.

In response to the pleas of San Juan Mayor Carmen Cruz to “save us from dying,” Trump criticized her “poor” leadership skills and suggested that Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them when it should be a community effort.”

This must have been easy to say, coming from the man who escaped to his private club shortly after the incident. 

However, Trump did eventually visit San Juan. Whether that be based on a genuine concern for the people or a publicity effort is debateable, but nonetheless, he went. Whether it did any good is also up for debate. Because San Juan is Puerto Rico’s capital, the relief efforts are moving much faster there, and subsequently this is where Trump spent most of his visit.

While speaking to the public in San Juan, Trump addressed the strain the devastation was going to put on the budget.

“And Mick Mulvaney is here— right there— and Mick is in charge of a thing called budget. Now, 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. We’ve saved a lot of lives,” Trump said.

After Trump finished complaining about the financial strain it was going to cause the government to literally save lives, he commended Mayor Cruz, stating that she was finally starting to “acknowledge what a great job we’ve done.”

So instead of focusing his efforts on the people of Puerto Rico, he took the opportunity this tragic event provided him with to self-promote.

All this aside, perhaps the absolute worst thing Trump did on his trip to Puerto Rico, was compare Hurricane Maria to Hurricane Katrina, which he considers to be a “real catastrophe.” 

“Every death is a horror. But if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with, really, a storm that was just totally overpowering— nobody has ever seen anything like this”

Obviously, this is not OK. Whether it is convenient for him, Trump has a responsibility to the people of Puerto Rico and instead of helping boost their morale and giving them a sense of security, he compared the devastation they had experienced to a “real catastrophe?”

Yes, statistically, Katrina had a much larger death toll than Maria, but to downplay even the loss of one human life just goes to show how much compassion this man actually lacks.

One of the biggest problems that many people have with Donald Trump is the overwhelming evidence that he genuinely cares about no one but himself, and if it wasn’t obvious before Hurricane Maria, it definitely is now. This is a terrible quality to have in public office, but unfortunately, it is rewarded all too often. Thirty-four people died in Puerto Rico and several others were injured, and President Trump showed his support by leaving an entire hour before schedule.

What this world needs is leaders who are compassionate, self-less and generous. What we got instead, was Donald Trump, a man who never even took the time to look at the problem areas of Puerto Rico post Maria, and who instead told the people that their lost loved ones were not a product of a “real catastrophe.” 

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