As If He Was Writing a Headline For the "Onion", Trump Claims Administration's Respons
Donald Trump continues to hone his skills at telling the "big lie." As hurricane Florence approaches, Trump took the opportunity yesterday to rehash the myth that his administration competently handled the aftermath of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017, calling it an "unsung success". It's as if he believes that if he says it loud enough and long enough someone will buy it. Unfortunately 30 some percent of the country probably will and that's a shame because the Trump administration handled that tragedy about as well as he is "handling" the budget deficit, negotiations with N. Korea or healthcare - poorly. Hurricane Maria killed almost 3,000 people and is one of the deadliest hurricanes in US history.
Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, responded on Twitter to Trump's claims of success, “If he thinks the death of 3,000 people is a success, God help us all." This morning she added, "He never got it. He will never get it.” She was being charitable; he does get it. He knows that he botched the response to Maria. He has seen the same reports that she has. The Trump administration's response to hurricane Maria was an unmitigated disaster which contributed to the high death toll and misery suffered there after the storm.
CBS: "Most of the deaths blamed on Maria in Puerto Rico, according to researchers, resulted not from the physical impact of the hurricane, but rather because of the shortcomings in preparedness and response -- the lack of access to medical care; to dialysis treatment and diabetes medication, for example."
And, lest we forget:
Time: "In a report issued earlier this month, the government’s chief watchdog found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been overwhelmed by a series of devastating hurricanes and other disasters in 2017. The Government Accountability Office said the agency had failed to adequately house disaster victims, distribute financial assistance in a timely fashion or do enough to prevent fraud."
"In Puerto Rico, where the estimated death toll from Hurricane Maria has ranged from as low as 64 to as high as 5,000, the accountability office said the agency’s poor response was compounded by a failure to deploy enough qualified staff."
CBS: "The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Tuesday that 54 percent of federal emergency personnel were not qualified for their positions in October 2017, a month after the Category 4 hurricane [struck] the U.S. territory."
New York Times: "Electricity was not restored to every customer on the island until a few weeks ago. The director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority said that about a quarter of the $3 billion in repairs, which were paid for by the federal government, would probably have to be redone."
But, unlike the President, at least FEMA has been honest about its failures in Puerto Rico.
New York Times: "FEMA acknowledged the shortcomings in a report released in July. The agency said it was caught with empty warehouses and few qualified staff to attend to the disaster, brought the wrong type of satellite phones to the island, and did not have truck drivers to deliver aid from the port. FEMA said that days went by without “situational awareness” of what was happening outside."
Matthew Yglesias at Vox summed it up perfectly in May. Our President spends too much time at political rallies spouting his conspiracy theory du jour, and way too little effort at actually running the federal government competently.
Vox: "The carnage in Puerto Rico is the most severe manifestation of Trump’s basic unfitness for the job he currently occupies, but it’s far from the only one. And the focus on his various antics has an unfortunate tendency to detract from the basic reality that he doesn’t put in the time or the work to solve problems, when really that’s the core of the issue. If you put a telegenic demagogue in office, you will get some choice moments of televised demagoguery. You won’t get an adequate response to a hurricane, and that means you will get a sky-high death toll. The rest of us can only hope our luck holds up."
To our readers in Virginia and the Carolinas, good luck and stay safe.
Photo Credit: DOD