The Gulf Coast is currently feeling the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which is the largest storm to have made landfall in the U.S. in over a decade and has thus far been confirmed to have claimed the lives of about ten people. The Trump Administration has faced scrutiny over their response to the disaster, seeing as, to start with, the president has proposed large cuts to federal disaster relief programs.
You’d think that the Trump Administration would be ready to accept any help in responding to the disaster, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. They have thus far been noncommittal in their response to an offer of help from the Mexican government.
Obviously, there are more forces at work here than just those of practicality in the Trump Administration’s response to Mexico, seeing as the president has used railing against the country as a key part of his political platform pretty much since his campaign announcement. More recently, he has described the country as “difficult” in the context of NAFTA renegotiations that aren’t, apparently, proceeding exactly according to Trump’s liking.
While Hurricane Harvey was making its way through Texas on Sunday, the president tweeted yet another assertion that Mexico will pay for the wall he has long promised to build along their entire border with the U.S.
22-year-old Kyle Souder spoke for all of us when he commented at the president:
‘Mexico sent their own people to help during Katrina and you want to tweet this Shit right now?’
Thus, even if in truth there is no practical need for Mexico’s help in responding to Harvey at this point, the White House’s response is going to remain tinged with the vitriol that defines the president’s personal attitude towards the country — at best. At worst, the White House’s present refusal is yet another manifestation of the president’s belligerence.
In identical statements delivered to the Huffington Post by the White House and the State Department, government officials said that “[i]f a need for assistance does arise, we will work with our partners, including Mexico, to determine the best way forward.”
In a follow-up statement, a White House spokesperson stated:
‘The White House is grateful for the outpouring of support coming in from around the world. We are aware of Mexico’s offer, and FEMA is coordinating with the State Department on the appropriate next steps.’
Mexico’s offer to assist in Harvey recovery efforts isn’t just for show; in the past, they have effectively helped the United States recover from Hurricane Katrina. Mexican soldiers who set up base in San Antonio following that massive storm “served 170,000 meals to hurricane victims, distributed 184,000 tons of supplies, and conducted more than 500 medical consultations,” according to former diplomat Stephen Kelly.
Mexico’s latest offer of support has been delivered in two parts. Earlier this week, on Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott told reporters that his government had been in contact with Mexico about their prospective hurricane relief assistance. Later in the week, on Tuesday, Mexico delivered their assistance offer to the U.S. State Department.
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