President Donald Trump is perhaps the most out of touch president in modern history. While he did attempt to connect with Texas residents impacted recently by the devastating Hurricane Harvey, the content of that speech was dismally disappointing. Trump treated the speech as though he were at a rally, choosing to focus on crowd size and the like rather than do his job: to inspire the American people to come together and foster hope for new beginnings and support.
With another hurricane looming in the distance, President Trump had the opportunity to right his above wrong but failed again.
Hurricane Irma, which is a Category 5 storm, has already wrecked havoc on several Caribbean islands and is expected to make landfall on Puerto Rico Wednesday. Also in its projected path at this time is the third most populated state in the country, Florida, which it may reach before the week’s end. Beyond all of the typical risks involved in such a landfall (economic, natural, human, among others), Florida is an exceedingly important state politically, and President Trump would do well to remember that. Hopefully, he won’t. The political consequences of neglecting to plan for appropriately, assist during and inspire following a touchdown of Hurricane Irma might very well send Trump’s already dismal approval rating down the pipes. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump obtained all 29 electoral college votes from the states, leading Hillary Clinton by an insignificant 1.3 percent of votes.
He has, as a result of the impending disaster, signed emergency declarations for Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The equally hilarious and pathetic discrepancy between the White House statement on the declarations and President Trump’s statement to reporters, cannot be overlooked. The White House statement instills a certain understanding of the nature and potential impact of the storm, promising big things regarding protecting the human, natural and economic assets of these areas, reading in part:
‘Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that an emergency exists in the State of Florida and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions … This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency may inflict on the local population, and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures… to save lives, protect property, and ensure public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 67 counties in the State.’
President Trump, by contrast, had this to say:
‘We have a lot to discuss, including the fact that there is a new, and seems to be record-breaking hurricane [heading] toward Florida, and Puerto Rico, and other places… It looks like it could be something that will be not good. Believe me, not good.’
He means to tell America that a Category 5 storm targeting one of the countries most important and populated states is “not good,” as though this is somehow new information? Gee, thank you President Trump for the wisdom. No one would’ve had any idea that the projected impact of Irma was “not good” without you saying so. Furthermore, thank you in advance on behalf of all of the residents of these United States territory for the assurance that they will be taken care of, provisions and detailed emergency plans have been put in place and in motion and that shelters and other forms of relief have been established. One doesn’t have to look far to see yet another reason Trump is so interested in Irma: his notorious Mar-a-Lago resort (also known as “The Winter White House”) is located in Palm Springs, Florida and is potentially in Irma’s path, as well.
While the exact trajectory of Irma is difficult to predict with accuracy, representatives of the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday that the window of opportunity for it to re-route and dissipate from a loss of strength is minimal and closing. Current estimates for Irma impacting Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Florida in the days to come sits at around 80 percent.
Feature Image via Getty Images.