By Shelby Brown
As thousands of American citizens suffer in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, President Trump continues his trademark egocentric behavior by insulting those affected.
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States, on Sept. 20, 2017. Puerto Ricans were left without power, food and clean water. CNN reported on Oct. 14 that the death toll has climbed to 48 with 117 people missing.
Despite numerous reports of Puerto Rico still being in post-apocalyptic conditions, Trump continues to insult their leadership and workforce.
On Sep. 30 Trump tweeted, “such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”
Shortly after he tweeted that, Trump admitted that even federal first responders were having trouble communicating due to no phones or electricity on most of the island. He fails to attribute the lack of local distribution teams to reliable communication. He lacks the ability to reason before making comments, and even worse, he doesn’t care to correct these mistakes.
Trump visited Puerto Rico on Oct. 3. The comments he made lacked the maturity and tact expected of a strong leader.
“I hate to tell you Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” Trump said, and he rudely compared the island’s disaster to Hurricane Katrina’s.
Trump commented on FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, being in Puerto Rico. He tweeted on Oct. 12, “…We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever.”
This tweet lacks humanity, and it implies that the citizens in Puerto Rico are not worthy of proper relief. It also implies that FEMA has been aiding Puerto Rico for an unprecedented amount of time, but FEMA’s history says otherwise.
In October, CNN reported FEMA will likely stay in Texas for years recovering after being hit by Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 25. Prolonging support in areas that are affected by natural disasters isn’t just common, it is expected.
Trump’s approach to Puerto Rico is frigid, and America has taken notice. Unfortunately, Puerto Rican citizens aren’t receiving the same treatment from the president as Texas or Florida, other areas recently affected by natural disasters.
In response to the backlash to his poor response to Puerto Rico, Trump tweeted on Oct. 4,
“Nobody could have done what I’ve done for #PuertoRico with so little appreciation. So much work!”
As his pattern continues, the United States president is more concerned about how the world perceives him rather than actually being the kind, compassionate and sane president many of us wish he actually was.
Puerto Rican-American Congresswoman Nydia Velázques strongly and accurately stated to the House Financial Services Committe, “we shed blood to defend the freedoms that every American in this country enjoys, so to kick fellow citizens while they are down is shameful.”
We are only 10 months into Trump’s term, and the list of controversies surrounding this president grows longer every day. In order for Trump to start improving as our president and gain support, he needs to learn that empathy and compassion get people a lot further than hateful comments and uneducated assertions.