Instead of sending help to Puerto Rico, Trump tweets insults and threats
Early this morning, from his luxury resort in New Jersey, on his 61st day of golfing this year, Pr*sident Donald Trump blasted the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has been living in a shelter since Hurricane Marla slammed the island.
Via his favorite venue, he fumed:
This juvenile outburst was prompted by the mayor’s heart-rending plea for help late Friday that included criticism of the White House response after Trump and another member of his regime said how great things are going thanks to their efforts. The New York Times reported:
“It’s going really well, considering,” Mr. Trump said. He added: “We’ve made tremendous strides. Very tough situation.” Later, he said, “People can’t believe how successful it’s been.”
But the disconnect between what officials in Washington were saying and the situation on the ground in Puerto Rico was captured on live television by the response of the mayor of San Juan when she was played a clip of the acting Homeland Security secretary, Elaine Duke, saying that she was “very satisfied” with the government’s response. Ms. Duke called it “a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place.”
The retort from Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz: “This is, damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story. This is a ‘life or death’ story. This is ‘there’s a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people’ story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen.”
Subsequently, the mayor issued a plea for help:
“I will do what I never thought I was going to do. I am begging, 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.”
After Trump’s Twittering Saturday morning:
Cruz declined to engage in the tit-for-tat, instead calling for a united focus on the people who need help. “The goal is one: saving lives. This is the time to show our ‘true colors.’ We cannot be distracted by anything else,” she tweeted, along with photos of herself meeting with residents and rescue workers, wading hip-deep through a flooded street and comforting an elderly woman.
From the beginning of this disaster, Donald Trump has proved himself incapable of providing the kind of leadership needed. Indeed, for four days after his lame tweet on Sept. 20 to Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello telling him “We are with you and the people of Puerto Rico. Stay safe!” Trump proved he wasn’t with Puerto Ricans and had nothing at all to say about the unfolding catastrophe. Instead, in one wretched tweet after another, he focused his bile on the silent, anti-racist, kneeling protests of some NFL players .
When he finally did get around to saying anything, on the 25th, it was with three tweets all noting that financially strapped Puerto Rico is deeply in debt.
And now, this thin-skinned atrocity of a pr*sident is complaining about the mayor’s criticism of his failure to grasp the extent of the suffering in Puerto Rico and to move quickly and decisively to ameliorate the impact of the hurricane’s aftermath. Nobody expects him to be in the trenches the way the Carmen Yulín Cruz is. Indeed, it’s not his upcoming visit to Puerto Rico that is needed. The last thing Puerto Rican authorities need is a diversion of scarce resources to deal with the disruption of a presidential visit.
What’s needed is some real leadership. Not pathetic tweets from the 19th hole at Bedminister.
(Originally appeared at DailyKos.)