Donald Trump Has Failed As President
As Puerto Ricans continue to suffer for want of food and water, most without electricity or working cell phones to call for help, Donald Trump called their plight “fake news.” He is a liar and a fraud indifferent to American citizens without electoral votes.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2017
Donald Trump’s Puerto Rico Response Failed
Donald Trump has entirely failed a key test of presidential leadership. His dilatory and entirely ambivalent response to Puerto Rico’s pummeling by Category 4 hurricane Maria has left American citizens suffering without food, water, electricity, gas, money, and at risk of dying. Despite the lack of basic human needs, Trump has done nothing to help the American commonwealth, opting instead to, as usual, play golf and neglect his duties as president.
The islands, whose residents are American citizens, is almost entirely without power – Maria’s destruction devastated the electrical grid, leaving more than 95% of customers without electrical service. Similarly, they have little means of contacting the outside world. Only 10.7% of Puerto Rico’s cell towers work.
Residents also must deal with food and gas shortages. Barren grocery store aisles, impassable roads, and hours needed to get any amount of gas – in one Puerto Rican city, people had to wait 10 hours for gas – leave citizens with little food, if any.
Similarly, with no gas and no ability to navigate roads, Puerto Ricans cannot get to work and thus have no ability to earn the money needed to purchase these scarce supplies. Many businesses will only accept cash because Maria brought down the credit card system. Some half of all bank branches remain closed because they cannot procure armored trucks with gas or drivers to safely deliver cash. The branches still open restrict the amount of cash any given individual can withdraw.
A Failure to Act
Trump worsened these problems in two way. Prior to the hurricane’s strike, even as forecasts warned that an immensely powerful storm would ravage the island, Trump refused to mobilize FEMA or the military to preemptively deliver supplies to the American citizens on Puerto Rico. This ensured that in Maria’s immediate aftermath, supplies would be scarce.
Once the storm cleared the island, Trump again entirely failed in helping those suffering and dying. In the 11 days since the hurricane passed, Puerto Ricans have seen their situation deteriorate as they “wait in anguish” for the help that so quickly arrived in Texas and Florida after Harvey and Irma, respectively.
Echoes of Katrina
To many, these failures bring back haunting memories of the uninspired response to Hurricane Katrina. These failures – Donald Trump’s failures – have worsened a humanitarian crisis. As retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré said Thursday, 9/28, “The Navy and Air Force could have been there Sunday,” 9/24, and we “could have opened the port, could have opened the air field. Why the hell has it taken this long to do that? That is what we do in the military.”
If only the Commander-in-Chief had found that worthwhile.
But instead, President Donald J. Trump has been too busy golfing to worry about the American citizens in the American commonwealth. When Puerto Rico’s skies cleared and the island entered recovery mode, Donald Trump golfed. As Puerto Rico’s elected officials begged for help, urging the administration to dedicate itself to preventing death, Donald Trump tweeted insults at the Latina women who asked him to help end a crisis, and then continued relaxing and golfing at his Bedminster, New Jersey club.
Such actions are entirely unacceptable. Rather than help Americans, Trump relaxed at resorts that have attracted millionaires, billionaire, and industry lobbyists paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to mingle with the president and his cohorts, influencing their decision-making and shaping America’s public policy as Trump’s ignorance leaves him reliant on those who whisper in his ear.
The “America First” president again shows that when it comes to the lives of Americans or his relaxation and profit of the Trump Organization, Donald Trump will always choose the latter two.
Donald Trump Must Resign
Donald, if I might offer you a suggestion, if you have no interest in serving Americans, in helping them, especially in times of humanitarian disaster, resign. Do not let Americans die because you’re disinterested in the lives of Latinos and those without electoral votes. Go mingle with the wealthy, go scream at the TV and take your ignorant thoughts to Twitter, go do whatever you want, but not when your actions – or lack thereof – condemn Americans to suffering.