Mayday in Puerto Rico and
the Virgin Islands
It is difficult to watch the images of the devastation left in the Puerto Rico after the 100 by 35-mile island took a direct hit from
Hurricane Maria. And what has been equally troubling is the Trump Administration’s slow and seemingly indifferent response to
what is clearly a humanitarian crisis. Several days after the hurricane made landfall, thousands of Puerto Rican citizens remain
without the necessary resources to survive, prompting a plea from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz directly to Mr. Trump to
help her save her citizens. “We are dying,” said Cruz.
As of this writing, we are approximately ten days into this crisis and the president has yet to set foot on the island, instead
resorting to Twitter to criticize the Puerto Rican government for he what perceives as their failure to dig out of the damage created
by Hurricane Maria. After receiving some push back from Mayor Cruz about his comments about the debt crisis and poor
infrastructure, the president once again Tweeted out negative comments about Cruz’ poor leadership and that the Puerto Ricans
want everything done for them. The president has also made the nonsensical claim that Cruz is being told by the Democrats to
criticize his administration for its slow response. Millions remain without electricity, clean water and food. The president has
chosen to play golf while American citizens’ lives hang in the balance.
The island of Puerto Rico is in ruins. There is not expected to be any power restored for at least six months and as previously
mentioned, water and food supplies are scarce. The president is taking much heat for talking about the massive debt and broken
infrastructure, placing money over the lives of American citizens. One can’t help but wonder how former U.S. presidents would
have handled this crisis. It’s hard to imagine any of them responding in the way Trump has done. Just consider for a moment
what President Obama would have faced had he chosen to play golf under these circumstances. Trump’s lack of empathy has
been palpable and there is a stark difference in terms of his response to what occurred in Texas and Florida. The U.S. territory of
Puerto Rico deserves the same level of consideration.
And let us not forget about the Virgin Islands where thousands of people remain without power, food, and water as well. During
times like these, we need a president that will focus on priorities like the humanitarian crisis that Puerto Rico and the Virgin
Islands are facing right now as well as North Korea, healthcare, tax reform, etc. Our president seems inexplicably obsessed with
the National Football League. And while he has said that he will visit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands this week, we will see if
that happens or not.
Meanwhile, my thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Island that they get the assistance
needed to save lives and restore their economy.