President Donald Trump has been on the defensive against heavy criticism over his slow response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria and Friday he showed he really has no clue.
Despite widespread criticism that the administration is not doing enough, Trump insisted Friday, “All appropriate parts of our government from Homeland Security to Defense are engaged fully in the response and the recovery effort probably has never been seen for something like this.”
“This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water,” Trump helpfully explained during his speech in Washington.
Trump has harped on the island issue before, also explaining how islands work in a pool spray with reporters earlier this week.
“It’s very tough, because it’s an island,” Trump said during a meeting with House members. “In Texas, we can ship the trucks right out there. And you know, we’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and on Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico. But the difference is, this is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. And it’s a big ocean; it’s a very big ocean. And we’re doing a really good job.”
At a news conference later, Trump again complained, “it’s the most difficult job because it’s on the island — it’s on an island in the middle of the ocean. It’s out in the ocean. You can’t just drive your trucks there from other states.”
This is all true, of course. It just seems like the president just learned what an island is.
Also, while the devastation in Puerto Rico might be unprecedented, islands in the Caribbean are often hit with hurricanes and tropical storms.
The issue of Puerto Rico being an island (in big ocean water) isn’t the only thing Trump seems obsessed about. Anytime he mentions the recovery effort, he can’t help but bring up the territory’s long-running debt crisis.
“Ultimately the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort — it’ll end up being one of the biggest ever — will be funded and organized, and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island,” Trump said Friday.
He also tweeted that “big decisions” will need to be made on paying for the longterm rebuilding effort, suggesting the federal government may not be as willing to foot the bill as they were in Florida and Texas.
But for now Trump’s main focus is convincing American’s he is doing a “great job.”
He had his acting Homeland Security Secretary call the recovery a “good news story,” something the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico took strong objection to.
“Dammit, this is not a good news story,” Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN Friday. “This is a people are dying story. This is a life or death story. This is — there’s a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water.”
“If I could scream it a lot more louder,” she said. “It’s not a good news story when people are dying when they don’t have dialysis, and when the generators aren’t working and the oxygen is not providing for them. Where is there good news here?”