Dear Puerto Rico: No Matter What The President Says, We Know It’s Not Your Fault.
It was a busy weekend for the President, mostly on Twitter. The President at a campaign rally (supposedly for Luther Strange, but ultimately for himself) Friday night ignited a national firestorm by calling the handful of players who kneed during the National Anthem “sons of bitches” and urging Americans to boycott the NFL. Defending that turned into a full time job on Twitter. Between Saturday and early Tuesday morning the President tweeted about the issue an astounding 22 times. Twenty-two times!
For most of that time the President was in radio silence regarding an unfolding humanitarian nightmare facing millions of Americans in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Already recovering from a glancing blow by the massive Hurricane Irma, a week ago Puerto Rico took a direct hit from Maria as a strong Category 4 storm. Maria effectively destroyed Puerto Rico’s entire electrical system and the island remains almost completely in the dark. The few portable generators for hospitals and so forth are running out of fuel. Potable water is disappearing and food is scarce. Communications systems are also destroyed leaving no means to even tell people what to do or when relief may come.
Facing mounting criticism for his over a score of kneeling football player tweets, with nothing about Puerto Rico, the President was finally shamed into tweeting about Puerto Rico. A whole three of them. They were not exactly an uplifting message of assurance that America is for you and will do all it can to help. It was mostly about blaming Puerto Rico for its plight, citing the island’s high debt and poor electrical infrastructure. The series of three serial tweets expressed more concern for the financial plight of Wall Street banks owed money by Puerto Rico than for the American citizens of Puerto Rico desperately trying to survive.
The President expressed more concern for the financial plight of Wall Street banks owed money by Puerto Rico than for the American citizens of Puerto Rico desperately trying to survive.
As I have to say so often with this President, I’m not kidding.
I’m really not sure Texas and Florida, still very much in the midst of recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, would say they “are doing great”, but this isn’t supposed to be some sort of Hurricane playoff gameshow about who bounces back best from the worst.
Can you imagine the President tweeting something like this about Florida or Houston shortly after their disasters? Perhaps something like this (generated at faketrumptweet.com) as the people of Houston initially faced the devastation produced there:
In fact, the President showed great sympathy for the red state voting citizens of Texas in his tweets about Hurricane Harvey, even personally donating $1 million for relief there. Empathic tweets from the President said stuff like this:
“TX & LA: We are praying for you & we are here w/ you every step of the way. To those Americans who have lost loved ones: ALL OF AMERICA IS GRIEVING WITH YOU & our hearts are joined with yours FOREVER.”
That’s what the residents of Texas heard from our President after their disaster. Puerto Ricans hear “its your damn fault for going in debt and having crappy infrastructure, but I am working to help the banks that you owe.”
There is a reason for this dichotomy, and for the President’s obsession with NFL players kneeling even as 3+ million American citizens in Puerto Rico struggle to survive. The President’s base does not give a damn about Puerto Rico and so the President does not either. Much of the Trump’s base couldn’t find Puerto Rico on a map and lumps it in with Mexico as just another group of people who have to be kept out.
The President’s base does not give a damn about Puerto Rico and so the President does not either.
On the other hand, the President’s base does care about half a dozen or so players kneeling during the National Anthem before football games. They care a lot about that, and therefore so does President Trump. The difference in tweeting priorities is now fully explained.
The President, with all his incredible reach, has done little to draw the attention of the American people to the plight of Puerto Rico and encouraging Americans to help. As explained above, the power of his reach has had other priorities.
While I can do far less, I will do what I can. To the people of Puerto Rico I say to you what the President has not yet said. We are praying for you and we are here for you every step of the way. To those of you who have lost loved ones: ALL OF AMERICA IS GRIEVING WITH YOU & our hearts are joined with yours FOREVER.”
I call upon all in our great nation to help our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico however you can. Below is some contact information for relief organizations helping Puerto Rico now. Please consider making a donation.
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Finally, here is a power point presentation from the government of Puerto Rico advising people how to help: http://prfaa.pr.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Presentation-United-for-Puerto-Rico.pdf