After widespread criticism, President Donald Trump finally tweeted about the devastation in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
However, his statement led many to believe his silence was, perhaps, much more tolerable than him actually addressing the catastrophe.
Over the weekend, Trump tweeted nearly 17 times about sports. Not even once did he bother to mention the plight of 3.5 million U.S. citizens, who were left without food, water and electricity in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the island as a Category 5 hurricane on Sept. 20.
He rightfully received a lot of backlash for his criminal indifference. Consequently, he posted a series of tweets.
But instead of expressing solidarity with the hurricane victims, the president of the United States blamed Puerto Rico for the misfortune:
Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
...It's old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
...owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities - and doing well. #FEMA— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
That's right. Instead of immediately sending aid and resources to fellow Americans, who live on an island where 100 percent of the electricity was out after the hurricane, Trump talked about their debt. He didn't talk about saving diabetics whose insulin expired in the heat. He didn't talk about getting water to remote towns or food to the desperate masses.
He talked about debt.
Puerto Rico, an unincorporated Spanish-speaking U.S. territory with a poverty rate of nearly 45 percent, declared a form of bankruptcy in May. And the hurricane, as expected, has dealt a new, heavy blow to the already fragile economy of the Caribbean island.
Recovery in the affected areas is underway but slow, according to some reports, fairly dismal as the Trump administration is grappling with rescue efforts.
"So far, the Trump administration has dispatched an anemic Federal Emergency Management Agency mission and sundry military units to assess the situation and provide support," Slate reports. "But in some cases it took the federal government days to even contact local leaders in Puerto Rico’s major cities, let alone deploy aid. Only the most rudimentary military support is now on the ground."
“How are we supposed to receive help if no one knows we are here?” Lisandra Alicea, a hurricane survivor in Puerto Rico, told The Washington Post. “Please, you have to tell people that we are here, that we exist. We are like the forgotten community.”
Alicea's remarks highlight a very harrowing point: The people of Puerto Rico are being treated like the forgotten Americans by the president himself.
As we witnessed with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which both hit the mainland U.S., aid was made available immediately — with no hesitation. Furthermore, if Trump had responded to those disasters in the same way that he's responding to Hurricane Maria, the public outcry and rebellion would have been uncontainable.
Trump's racism is at the root of his pitiful response to Puerto Rico. His own words give the impression that he doesn't even see Puerto Ricans as Americans, much less as humans.
He is shamelessly denying people life-saving aid and victim-blaming; how much more inhumane can one be?
Around 80 percent of agriculture has been destroyed. Almost all the population is living without electrical power in addition to the death toll that has crossed 15.
It's appalling how, at a time when millions of American citizens are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, the president of the country is not only blatantly ignoring their plight, but also sprinkling salt into their wounds instead of stepping up recovery efforts.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters