This evening, President Trump is traveling to one of his infamous rallies in the Florida panhandle, a region devastated by Hurricane Michael last October — but he won’t be bringing with him any of the recovery aid that the area still desperately needs.
Hurricane Michael killed 59 people in the United States and did nearly $25 billion in damage — but seven months later, the Trump-loving people of the panhandle still haven’t been able to pick up the pieces, in large part thanks to the President himself.
A major relief funding bill is under debate in the House that would send hundreds of millions of dollars to the Panhandle, but Trump’s callously cruel refusal to allocate any more funds to the storm-ravaged island of Puerto Rico and the American citizens that live there is rightfully a dealbreaker for Democrats.
The situation is so bleak that Florida’s fed-up Republican politicians took the unusual step of publicly demanding that the President show up with something more than just his bucket of extra-strength crazy.
“As much as Bay County votes Republican, we don’t need a political rally right now. We need some good news from the federal government!” said Bay County Commissioner Philip Griffitts, who oversees the county where Trump’s rally will be held.
Don Gaetz, the chairman of the Triumph Gulf Coast Consortium Chairman and father of Republican lawmaker and DUI enthusiast Matthew Gaetz (R-FL) echoed Griffitts in a warning to Trump. “I think what the president owes everyone an explanation. The people in the Panhandle want to know why the funding is being held up and what he’s going to do about it.”
Unfortunately, they are likely to be out of luck, given the President’s utter disinterest in anything other than his own self-promotion. POLITICO reports that “Florida Republicans have warned the White House that a planned campaign rally in Panama City on Wednesday needs to include an announcement of aid for the storm-torn region, but as of late Tuesday the Trump administration had made no guarantees, according to three people with knowledge of the president’s plans.”
Whether this will be enough of an issue to change their ballot box decisions next November remains to be seen.
UPDATE: Even by this president’s own authoritarian standards, the Florida rally was a step forward in his march toward despotism. Trump claimed that in six years, the “fake news media… is all gonna be out of business,” then joked that maybe he’d stay in office for 10 or 14 more years. The lowlight of the evening came when he got his crowd laughing over the idea of murdering immigrants and refugees at the border:
Everyone having a good laugh about shooting refugees pic.twitter.com/G0S7Qsbqao
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) May 9, 2019