How low can Donald Trump go? This low:
President Trump served notice Thursday that he may pull back federal relief workers from Puerto Rico, effectively threatening to abandon the U.S. territory amid a staggering humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Declaring the U.S. territory’s electrical grid and infrastructure to have been a “disaster before hurricanes,” Trump wrote Thursday that it will be up to Congress how much federal money to appropriate to the island for its recovery efforts and that recovery workers will not stay “forever.”
In a trio of tweets, Trump wrote” “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”
Three weeks since Maria made landfall, much of Puerto Rico, an island of 3.4 million people, the vast majority of the island remains without power. Residents struggle to find clean water, hospitals are running short on medicine and commerce is slow with many businesses closed.
Trump on Thursday sought to shame the territory for its own plight. He tweeted, “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes.” And he quoted Sharyl Attkisson, a television journalist, as saying, “Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.”
Those people — those American people — are flat on their backs. Hungry, sick, desperate — from a hurricane whose fault was not their own. Even if the financial crisis is of their own making, my God, the Puerto Ricans are living through a humanitarian catastrophe. This is indecent. I don’t care if the mayor of San Juan is a loudmouth. People there are hurting. The American president is supposed to rise above that kind of thing.
Come on, Congress, get into this! Republican members, do you have any heart, any spine? Stand up to this cruelty. We are the richest and most powerful nation in the world. It disgraces us that an American president would talk this way about the suffering.
Even if we allow for the logistical problems in delivering and distributing food and water to everyone on the island, this is an inexcusable failure that needs to be corrected immediately. If a similar number of Americans on the mainland were without food and potable water for this long, it would be treated as a major scandal and it would be the top story in the news every day. Because it is happening in a territory with no political clout, it is not being taken as seriously as it should be. While the president repeatedly congratulates himself on what a great job he imagines he has done, the federal response to the disaster in Puerto Rico has been unacceptably poor. In terms of providing the most basic necessities in the wake of a major disaster, the government is failing millions of its citizens.
Where are Donald Trump’s court Evangelicals on this? If you cannot stand up to your friend the US president when he threatens to stop sending humanitarian aid to American citizens who are hungry, thirsty, sick, and without shelter, then God help you when you come before the King of Kings.
UPDATE: Some readers think that I’m calling out all Evangelicals here. I’m not. By “court Evangelicals,” I’m talking about the small coterie of Evangelical leaders who serve as Trump’s advisers (Falwell Jr., Jeffress, et al.)