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Trump To Puerto Rico: Drop Dead

How low can Donald Trump go? This low: [1]

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 [2] — 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.  [3] 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.


Check out Daniel Larison’s take on the US Government’s response to the disaster. [4]Excerpt:

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.)

117 Comments (Open | Close)

117 Comments To "Trump To Puerto Rico: Drop Dead"

#1 Comment By Deborah On October 13, 2017 @ 10:49 am

Dale McNamee — Supplies are not being held up in San Juan due to a teamsters’ strike. That was an internet rumor.

What does the closure of the naval base on Vieques have to do with Trump’s remarks about Puerto Rico?

#2 Comment By Phillip On October 13, 2017 @ 11:16 am

Thanks for the links.

I no longer consider Snopes a reliable source.

Business Insider looks better although it seems left-leaning as well.

I’d still like to see better reporting, video preferably, in general and on the entire situation in particular. PR corruption has been going on for decades, but it’s apparently not PC to discuss it as a factor in providing aid that must be overcome.

And no, that doesn’t mean PR residents should suffer for it any more than Chicago residents should.

For the record, my willingness to consider this story is based not on the word “race” but “union”.

#3 Comment By jz On October 13, 2017 @ 11:17 am

Rod – your inability to understand Trump is mind boggling. Silly articles like this prevent a real discussion. I don’t like what Trump said, but your portrayal of it here is just plan wrong. He’s telling the Puerto Rican authorities that they best get their crap together because the federal government can’t take care of them forever. This is 100% true. Being a guy who claims to prefer local communities and local solutions, how can you not understand this? The way he goes about it (Twitter…with bombastic language) is, per usual, destructive. But do you really believe he’s saying “drop dead” to Puerto Rico? Do you actually believe that? He’s about to sign a multi-billion dollar relief package for goodness sake. This is the type of stuff that serves to foster misunderstanding and misinformation.

The one part about this article that’s borderline dishonest is when you describe the mayor as a loudmouth…ya Rod, you’ve really got your finger on the problem with that one. The issue has nothing to do with being a loudmouth (as you imply); it has everything to do with being incompetent.

#4 Comment By SVM On October 13, 2017 @ 11:32 am

Katrina was a government caused disaster. Both from a Social and infrastructure perspective. Total Government ineptness. Looks like the same in Puerto Rico from what I see.This is what happens when the citizens rely on bureaucrats when there is no over site or accountability.With that being said it still doesn’t excuse the unnecessary suffering.
PS. It was Kathleen not Catherine. We nick named her Kathleen Blankstare along with Mrs Snelling (Mary Landrieu)and Nagin there was a whole lot of nothing going on after Katrina.If it wasn’t for the churches and volunteers from around the country New Orleans would be extinct.

#5 Comment By Neta On October 13, 2017 @ 12:41 pm

Trump’s “court evangelicals” should read the following to POTUS: Matthew 25:31-46 (NLT)
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.
32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.
36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?
39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.
42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink.
43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

#6 Comment By Phillip On October 13, 2017 @ 12:55 pm

FWIW on aid delivery and corruption, excerpts from a piece yesterday by Jake Gibson:

“The complaints we’re hearing is that mayors of local municipalities, or people associated with their offices, are giving their political supporters special treatment, goods they’re not giving to other people who need them,” FBI Special Agent Carlos Osorio told Fox News.

Osorio, an agent with the FBI in San Juan, said the bureau was investigating the allegations.


Osorio told of one allegation where a party official is accused of pulling his own car around the back of a government building and driving off after loading it full of FEMA supplies.

“We’re going out and investigating these claims,” Osorio said. “We don’t know yet if they’re accurate or not…but yes we have received many similar allegations from people in many different parts of the island.”


Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, a U.S. federal prosecutor on the island, told a local Puerto Rican radio station Monday she was investigating officials in the government — including mayors — regarding the misappropriation of supplies. Rodriguez, however, declined to name the government officials being looked at.

#7 Comment By Daniel G Jennings On October 13, 2017 @ 4:08 pm

Trump learned nothing from Obama’s response to Baton Rouge, Bush I’s response to the LA Riots and Bush II’s ignoring of Katrina and New Orleans. Strange I thought he visited Louisiana after last year’s floods. Must have been a different guy

#8 Comment By DRK On October 13, 2017 @ 4:33 pm

Very few Houston utilities were moved underground after Ike, although as time goes on, more switching stations will be moved underground as new construction permits. Those substations that were underground promptly flooded and stopped working in many cases, and couldn’t be reached till the water receded. The real reason Houston was able to keep the lights on with Harvey was that there was much less wind damage than with Ike. Ike hit Houston as a Cat 1, with winds of up to 92 mph recorded at Houston Hobby. There were downed trees all over the place, which knocked down power lines, and speaking for my family, we had no power for two weeks, Harvey had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit Houston, with winds of less than 65 mph. Many fewer downed trees, (but so much water). And fewer people lost power, because less trees down meant less power lines down. In contrast, Maria hit Puerto Rico as a strong Cat 4, with sustained winds of 155 mph. It went straight across the island like a buzz saw. To quote the Saffir-Simpson scale for a Cat 4 storm ( and mind you, the cutoff for a Cat 4 is 156 mph, 2 more mph and this would have been a Cat 5:

“Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

That’s what Puerto Rico is dealing with. Most of the roads are covered with debris still, meaning that getting aid out to communities is still very difficult. To compare it to Houston’s experience is apples and oranges. And might I add that any place calling itself the “Bayou City” that allows developers to build and sell homes within reservoirs really shouldn’t be patting itself on the back about how prepared it is for hurricanes.

One final note. FEMA is still here in Texas. Harvey came ashore August 26. That was over 6 weeks ago, but people still need help, because hurricanes are devastating. Governor Abbott is still lobbying the Feds heavily for Harvey money, even as the House passed a $36.5 billion disaster relief package yesterday for victims of Harvey, Irma, Maria, Nate and the wildfires in the west. Abbott wants $15.8 billion of that money earmarked specifically for Texas. Why isn’t Trump reminding Texas the government won’t be there forever? Why not Florida? Why single out the place in the United States that was hit the hardest?

#9 Comment By fifth_disciple On October 13, 2017 @ 4:39 pm

“desperate — from a hurricane whose fault was not their own”.

No, but the outcome is certainly their fault. Hurricanes are not a recent phenomenon to the island. Why is it that all the “rebuilding” they’ve done in the past was so easily detroyed…again.

This isn’t rocket science, you don’t have to look farther than the story of The Three Little Pigs to find the solution.

#10 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On October 13, 2017 @ 5:41 pm

Trump’s “court evangelicals” should read the following to POTUS: Matthew 25:31-46 (NLT)

Trump said he loves Evangelicals. He didn’t claim that he is one. “All the better to get your votes, my dear.”

I did not support Trump for the quality of his writing and rhetoric, but for the fundamental shift in directional focus from global to domestic that he represents.

In that case, you must be highly disappointed.

Puerto Ricans are no more American than the Irish were British…

Interesting analogy… at the time of the Easter Uprising, the insurgents were plagued by women coming to the post office to pick up the checks due to them for their sons’ service in the British army, and the ladies were not buying the response, there won’t be any more checks, we’re an independent republic now. If the British had not been so ham handed in their response, the rebellion might well be a historical footnote. Also a huge number of Irish were working in Britain, as indeed they have continued to do throughout the period of independence.

#11 Comment By TR On October 13, 2017 @ 5:57 pm

Post-Modern Thought. Obviously, a lot of the commenters here consider Puerto Ricans not as citizens but as the Other. Which is consonant with a lot of the comments from time to time on Black Americans.

Meanwhile, all small-government Florida Republicans are insisting that several billion be allocated to Florida citrus growers for citrus crop damage.

#12 Comment By Rugeirn Drienborough On October 13, 2017 @ 9:48 pm

“Puerto Ricans are no more American than the Irish were British…”


Sorry if it’s a dreadful shock to you to learn that there are American citizens who aren’t white. You’ll get over it someday.

Let’s try on a few variations on that thought. We could insert the name of every country and culture that makes up our people. You know what we would wind up with?

“Americans are no more American than the Irish were British.” Sounds a little odd, doesn’t it?

#13 Comment By Reconsidering_King On October 13, 2017 @ 9:54 pm

Wow, such low commentating on this article. All the anti-Puerto Ricans/pro-Drumpfers on this thread won’t hesitate to blow the racist dog-whistle (by blaming PR for getting slammed by a hurricane) or bow to any length to defend their dear leader’s response to this crisis (ie, “he’s encouraging them to find solutions on their own”).

FEMA is still in red-state Texas to help them out; is Trump telling Texans to give themselves a “hand-up” from the hurricane? No. He’s bashing PR despite the fact that it is in a much, much worse shape.

Since the island is in bad shape, the’re immigrating here in droves. [5]

At current rates it will be 4-6 months before power is totally restored. People are going to be left without electricity, without cell phone access, and subsequently without a secure access to food, water, or security. [6]

That’s the evidence presented. Anyone who defends the President’s actions over PR is ignoring reality and ignoring the fact that we as a nation could easily be putting the entire island on its feet in 2 weeks (a previous TAC article touched on this).

#14 Comment By Craig On October 13, 2017 @ 10:22 pm

Puerto Rico is just a prop in the reality TV show that Trump is producing to feed his unquenchable narcissism. In fact, all of American now serves that role. Props are easily discarded once they are no longer useful or needed. Once you understand that, it all makes sense.

#15 Comment By ludo On October 14, 2017 @ 4:00 am

Puerto Rico was an American acquisition just like French Louisiana; the population of Puerto Rico consists of “whites,” “blacks,” and the “mixed,” just like la Louisiane française; the percentages are different, but the general historical (18th/19th century) compositional groups were the same. The main difference is that in what used to be la Louisiane French has fallen into great disuse, while Spanish has so far not in the ‘la isla.’ The ‘Latinity’ of Puerto Rico was very much akin to that of French Lousiana, especially in light of the fact that the latter had also for a significant period been la Luisiana española, within the Captaincy General of Cuba in the Viceroyalty of New Spain. During that period thousands of Canary Islanders and other Spaniards settled in Louisiana, they were the geographically exact same sort colonist that settled in Puerto Rico, present day Colombia and Venezuela etc., to this day these Louisianan Canarians (isleños) speak a legacy and colloquial form of Spanish that connects them to their historical Canarian brethren in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, etc. If you can accept the core of French Louisiana as incontrovertibly part of the U.S., then you should be able to accept the gross of the Puerto Rican people, if not the institutional polity itself, as part of the U.S., for that is what they constitutionally are.

#16 Comment By RomanCandle On October 14, 2017 @ 6:02 am

Sorry if it’s a dreadful shock to you to learn that there are American citizens who aren’t white. You’ll get over it someday.

Puerto Rico is 3/4 white, that’s whiter than the United States.

Puerto Ricans aren’t “our people”, they are their own people. With a unique language, culture, and national characteristic. They are American citizens only by virtue of a long ago act of imperialism, one powerful nation stealing a small island from another. I don’t feel any particular affinity towards them, and neither do the vast majority of Americans. In fact, most Americans don’t even realize they are citizens. If that makes me an awful racist in your eyes…well, I don’t really care.

We should of course help them rebuild, but then we should set them free, as the present arrangement is unfair to both Puerto Rico and the United States.

#17 Comment By JonF On October 15, 2017 @ 9:10 pm

Re: Puerto Ricans aren’t “our people”, they are their own people.

They have been “our people” for over a century– they have flown our flag, fought and died in our wars, traveled freely and engaged in commerce with the mainland every bit as much as the inhabitants of Hawaii or, for that matter, Long Island. So what if their native tongue is not English– the Cajuns once spoke a bastardized French, and out Navajo country over 100,000 people still speak Navajo. A nation is not made by a language or skin color or ancestry. A nation is made by the sum of all its history. And Puerto Rico has been joined to the US for almost as long as Hawaii– or as long as Louisiana a century ago.