March 24, 2023

Trump just called Hurricane Maria relief a “success.” San Juan’s mayor’s response is brutal

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Hurricane Florence is building into a monstrous storm in the Atlantic Ocean, headed directly for a disastrous collision course with the Eastern Seaboard. The projected Category 4 storm is expected to make landfall this Friday, and mass evacuations are already underway. By all predictable metrics, the hurricane is going to wreak monumental destruction.

This will not be the first natural disaster Trump has faced as president, and his past performance doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. His administration completely botched the federal response to the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico, resulting in widespread infrastructure collapse and mass death.

The estimate of the death toll has since risen to almost 3,000 people and as recently as today Trump insisted that “Puerto Rico was incredibly successful.” In typical fashion, he’s attempting to gaslight the country into believing that 3,000 dead Americans is somehow a good outcome.

There is no honest accounting of the Trump administration’s behavior that would lead to one thinking its hurricane response was anything beyond an abject failure. It’s, of course, no coincidence that a president who regularly engages in racist dog whistles neglected Puerto Rico.

Carmen Yulín Cruz, the Mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan, took to Twitter to hit back at Trump. The two have feuded in the past, with Yulín Cruz struggling against Trump’s incompetency and deeply rooted racism to get adequate aid for her fellow Puerto Ricans.

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Yulín Cruz challenged Trump’s contention that his Hurricane Maria response was a “success” and pointed to the massive death toll. “If he thinks the death of 3,000 people os [sic] a success God help us all,” she tweeted.

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Her tweet reads as an ominous prognostication of things to come. There is little reason to believe that Trump has the inclination or ability to handle Hurricane Florence in adequate fashion. Hopefully, his administration exceeds any reasonable expectations and actually helps the people of the East Coast.

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Trump attacked Yulín Cruz in the past, undermining and insulting her character while she was busy trying to help the Americans that the president himself couldn’t be bothered to care about. While she was busy showcasing the best American leadership has to offer, he was showcasing the worst.

It remains to be seen if Trump responds to Yulín Cruz’s latest tweet, but regardless of what he does next, she’s already won the argument. There is nothing “successful” about Trump’s presidency and his refusal to properly assist Puerto Rico will go down as one of the darkest stains on his filthy legacy.

Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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