With a monster hurricane spinning towards the east coast, President Donald Trump took a moment during a briefing on Tuesday to herald the awful, delayed response to 2017’s Hurricane Maria as an “unsung success,” sparking outrage online.
Calling it “one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about,” Trump is ignoring what was, in fact, a dreadful response that cost more lives than what the storm death toll originally claimed.
At the time, the administration committed to a more aggressive response to storms that struck Texas, even as that situation there became more manageable and Puerto Rico desperately needed more assistance.
But perhaps worst of all is the fact that Trump is using words like “tremendous” and “success” to describe a response to a storm that ultimately killed almost 3,000 people, more than the roughly 1,800 killed by Hurricane Katrina and about the same number of people who were killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
As far as Trump’s response is concerned, the most lasting image of his involvement with Hurricane Maria will be the time he visited Puerto Rico and threw rolls of paper towels to survivors.
As one could imagine, Trump’s egregiously tone-deaf statement on Tuesday did not go over well on Twitter.
Trump simply does not get it. Thus his neglect towards Puerto Rico cost about 3,000 lives. Unfortunately, it seems he will never get it.
— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) September 11, 2018
That doesn’t even REMOTELY qualify as a success. Your response was a shameful failure and one of the worst stains of your embarrassing presidency. https://t.co/htnEKRtvZU
— Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) September 11, 2018
Trump is bragging about his handling of Puerto Rico.
3,000 people DIED. What an awful human being.
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) September 11, 2018
Trump on the response to Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people in Puerto Rico:
– “Incredibly successful”
– “I actually think it was one of the best jobs that’s ever been done”
– “Incredible unsung success”
– “The best job we did was in Puerto Rico” pic.twitter.com/04WzVn9Tf6
— David Mack (@davidmackau) September 11, 2018
The way Trump just said Puerto Rico was “incredibly successful” after hurricane Maria, reminded me of someone sitting in the theater cheering for the iceberg while watching The Titanic.
— Brandon Besserer (@BrandonBesserer) September 11, 2018
Try unsung tragedy. Roughly as many Americans died because of Trump’s failure in Puerto Rico as died on 9/11.
Just another example of this administration’s indifference to brown people’s humanity.
— Barred and Boujee (@AudreLawdAMercy) September 11, 2018
None of this gives us any confidence in how Trump will respond to Hurricane Florence’s landfall, which is projected to hit somewhere along the Carolina coast later this week.