President Donald Trump has consistently fumbled items as basic as responding to natural disasters with leadership that people can support. Now, after he again raised fake numbers in a tirade against Puerto Rico for daring to need federal disaster relief assistance, one of the island’s major newspapers has come out with a stern — English-language — denunciation of the president’s behavior, which doesn’t end with this incident. In the past, he’s gone so far that he claimed that the official death toll was a contrived political death toll meant to make him look bad. You’re not the center of the universe, Donald!
This past week, El Nuevo Día ran the blunt headline, discussing the figure Trump has claimed Puerto Rico has been granted:
‘Your Numbers Are Fake’
Considering Trump’s personal love of decrying news he doesn’t like as “fake,” this could hit him right where it hurts. The paper added some explanation:
‘Although some politicians in Puerto Rico have indeed mismanaged funds and have let their constituents down, Mr. Trump’s claims about the amount of money that has actually been assigned to the island are incorrect.’
Check it out:
— El Nuevo Día (@ElNuevoDia) August 30, 2019
Trump has claimed that Puerto Rico has been granted a full $92 billion in federal disaster relief funds, painting the situation as one of record spending and of course finding an opening to complain about local politicians supposedly not being grateful enough to him in the process. In reality, however, HuffPost notes that “federal data shows that Congress has allocated $49.7 billion to Puerto Rico’s disaster relief following hurricanes Irma and Maria, both of which struck in 2017,” and “less than $14 billion has been received” out of that amount.
Even considering the mismanagement of resources issue — significant portions of that mismanagement have been at the federal level with FEMA’s repeated failures to respond appropriately to the situation on the island. Trump himself has personally contributed to the mismanagement; only this past June did he finally agree to a disaster relief bill to actually distribute funds that had been languishing for months. Trump just keeps railing on about how awful Puerto Rico supposedly has been for getting any aid anyway, raising this lie about the total aid amount over and over again.
The complicating factor in Puerto Rico’s case is pretty clear — the island’s population is comprised of people of color.
As Hurricane Dorian approached the United States in recent days, Trump got on Twitter to again complain about Puerto Rico, whining that “of course” they’re in the path of another hurricane. As the storm turned towards Florida, Trump got on Twitter and in front of a camera right away to proclaim that the full power of the federal government is ready to assist as needed. Florida is comprised of potential 2020 presidential election swing voters and much larger portions of white people than Puerto Rico.
Considering these issues, it’s not as though Americans can really count on the president to be there when disaster strikes and support their recovery, as a rule.
Featured Image via screenshot