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article imageOp-Ed: White House response to Puerto Rico crisis is downright shameful

By Karen Graham     Sep 30, 2017 in Politics
San Juan - San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said on Friday night, "We're dying here. We truly are dying here." President Trump was quick to respond, Tweeting some leaders in Puerto Rico "want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort."
Trump was again at one of his private golf clubs in New Jersey Saturday morning when he let loose with a barrage of tweets that were not only disparaging of Mayor Cruz but of other local leaders, accusing them of wanting "everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort."
The whole Puerto Rico relief effort by the federal government has been a disaster. Trump's leadership from the very moment Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. Territory through today has been absent and there is really no excuse. With the technology in use by American and European meteorological assets, the hurricane was tracked with precision and the outcome was predictable.
Trees are toppled in a parking lot at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan  Puerto Rico as Hurrican...
Trees are toppled in a parking lot at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico as Hurricane Maria makes landfall on the island
HECTOR RETAMAL, AFP
For over a week before Maria made landfall, the U.S. government knew what was going to happen, and also was well aware the damage to come would be devastating. Yet, the government did nothing. As the hurricane hit on September 20, Facebook and Twitter were filled with warnings from Puerto Rican officials telling residents to evacuate or die, and then - There was nothing. The grid went down.
What was Trump's response to the hurricane?
So what did the president focus on? Looking back to last weekend, he concentrated on getting tweets out condemning NFL players for protesting the flag and the national anthem, which, by the way, is not exactly correct. By then, Puerto Rico had been without any kind of response from the government for four days.
When Trump finally tweeted on September 25, it was to point out that, “Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble." No mention of what the federal government was going to do for the 3.5 million citizens of the U.S.
The only tweet by President Trump on Puerto Rico  was a short message on September 20.
The only tweet by President Trump on Puerto Rico was a short message on September 20.
Donald Trump
Then, Trump tweeted, “Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.” No mention of the rubble of what had once been hospitals or the people dying. No mention of the lack of food and water. Who was Trump feeling pity for? Wall Street.
It took Trump eight days to finally lift the Jones Act that allows supplies to be shipped to Puerto Rico unimpeded. Trump's response when questioned about the delay in waiving the act? “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 that the government steps on anyone's toes during a crisis.
Note the date this tweet was sent out...... Nine days after the hurricane hit.
Note the date this tweet was sent out...... Nine days after the hurricane hit.
Donald Trump
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens
A new Morning Consult poll published in the New York Times found that only 54 percent of Americans know that Puerto Ricans are US citizens. But to make it very clear to everyone - Puerto Rico residents have been citizens of the U.S. since 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act.
Puerto Ricans can travel freely between the continental U.S. without a passport, they are protected by the Bill of Rights, and they vote in presidential election primaries. If Puerto Rico were to become a state. it would be the 30th most populous state in the U.S., with a bigger population than Wyoming, Vermont, and Alaska combined.
Puerto Ricans whose lives were turned upside down by Hurricane Maria are enduring shortages of food ...
Puerto Ricans whose lives were turned upside down by Hurricane Maria are enduring shortages of food, water and fuel as they wait for recovery efforts to gain pace
HECTOR RETAMAL, AFP
The whole point is simple - Puerto Rico is as much a part of America as Texas, Louisiana or Florida. The people of Puerto Rico are right now being treated as second-class citizens. Under Donald Trump, many citizens in this country have lost their civil rights, environmental protections, and perhaps worst of all, our country has lost the respect of the rest of the world.
However, if the spotlight is not on Trump and his supposed and quite often, over-blown "accomplishments," he can't function, as we see in his online blather using Twitter. He is going to have to realize the world does not revolve around him and put aside his narcissism and over-inflated ego.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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