Trump Blasted for Delayed Response to Aid for Puerto Rico

Donald Trump announced today he will visit Puerto Rico next week. As he always does, he exaggerated the U.S. response to date and said, "We're doing a great job."

A "great job"? That is as wrong and as tone-deaf as George Bush saying in 2005 to FEMA Chief Michael Brown, ""Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job". Puerto Rico may well become Donald Trump's Katrina.

The reality is the U.S. response has been slow and inadequate to address the growing humanitarian crisis on the island. [More...]

While half of Americans don't know it, Puerto Ricans are U.S. Citizens. (They have been since 1917 when the Jones Act was enacted as 39 Stat. 951.) They participate in Social Security and Medicare. No visas are required to travel to or from the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

There is no power in Puerto Rico and no date set for restoration. Without food, clean water, electrical power, homes to live in, jobs,and medical care, they will be forced to leave their island.

A non-stop flight between Miami and San Juan is 2.5 hours. For New York to San Juan, it takes 3 hrs and 45 minutes. I've flown both routes dozens of times as I began spending vacationing in San Juan in high school and continued to go there during college breaks, when there were $99 round trip standby fares. My parents moved to Puerto Rico during my first year of law school. They lived in Aguadilla and then Dorado. I spent every law school vacation in Puerto Rico, and a few days en route or on the way back in Miami each time, to stay with friends.

From this Washington Post Op-Ed today:

As Puerto Rican journalist Jay Fonseca told me Sunday night, the early response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been atrocious: Diesel fuel for generators is scarce. Towns outside metro areas are unreachable. Hospitals can’t treat patients. Countless texts, spotty phone calls and tweets from the island tell of lost homes, flooded streets, looting, highways destroyed and the real fear that some parts of the island have yet to fully report on the damage. Reporters now covering the story are finding that the initial information coming from Puerto Rican social media during the first hours after Maria was hauntingly true.

Puerto Rico is also home to many U.S. pharmaceutical companies. The drugs they make go not only to those on the island, but to those in the mainland U.S. and around the world. The FDA, in a statement yesterday, said these companies employ 90,000 people on the island and the destruction to the companies is massive. The damage could reduce the production and availability of life-saving drugs Americans in the mainland depend on.

Geraldo Rivera arrived in Puerto Rico today along with some NY firefighters. They traveled by military air carrier. In an interview with Shep Smith, he makes some really good points about what is needed there.

I absolutely love Puerto Rico am am appalled by what is happening there. It is a true humanitarian crisis and it is happening to American citizens. We need to stop treating Puerto Rico like a colony. Congress needs to act and not rely Donald Trump or his agency minions. And Donald Trump needs to stop making sh*t up.

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  • Display: Sort:
    his declaration (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Sep 26, 2017 at 08:04:03 PM EST
    that "this is an island.  in the middle of the ocean!"

    is going into the hall of infamy with "heckuvajob Brownie"

    Easy for you to be critical but... (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by vml68 on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 12:43:47 AM EST
    "This is a thing called the Atlantic Ocean, this is tough stuff. It's a big ocean, it's a very big ocean."- Tr*mp

    Why do I get the feeling that someone just gave him a mini geography lesson.


    Was waiting for some version of (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 08:53:05 AM EST

    "A lot of people don't know that Puerto Rico is an island - did you know that?"


    That Tr*mp is a classless, vulgar, boorish cretin (none / 0) (#8)
    by vml68 on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 10:37:37 AM EST
    is no surprise but I honestly did not think he was this stupid.
    It amazes me that he is oblivious to his own ignorance and I am mortified by it. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

    Is the Trump administration so (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 10:49:26 AM EST
    poorly staffed - and so utterly unqualified - that no one suggested mobilizing the USNS Comfort to aid in the recovery and assistance effort in Puerto Rico?

    Did it really take Hillary Clinton tweeting Brock Long of FEMA to get that rolling?  

    Got my eyeballs rolling, for sure!


    USS Comfort (none / 0) (#13)
    by Steve13209 on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 12:41:52 PM EST
    I did read something about not sending the Comfort since the ports were so messed up. The airlifts were thought to be better at this time.

    That said, why not get it on its way to PR and anchor off-shore if necessary? The gears of government are not turning well under this Administration. Nobody seems to be in charge.


    The Trump apologists (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 01:30:36 PM EST
    are saying that the ports aren't usable but the Wall street Journal has a picture of a ship docking in PR the 25th. More than likely it's just a cover for their massive incompetence than any real reason regarding the docks.

    That was an excuse (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 07:25:46 AM EST
    The Comfort doesn't need to port to be functional. She didn't port during Desert Storm and she didn't port when she deployed to Haiti.

    Haiti was in as severe a crisis. Remember they had no working tower for plane landings and that was what the military did on day one? They set up one of their mobile towers?

    The "messed up port" is just an excuse, it's the most highly functioning military in the world. They have a process and plans for being portless.

    The National Guard wasn't activated as of yesterday either, so they are not armed and nobody wants to start dispersing food and water without security. What the hell is the problem?

    Mattis has a terrible track record of refusing to commit forces to anything he doesn't believe is his responsibility. If DOD dropped the ball....that's Mattis. God knows Donald isn't going to understand what needs to happen.


    Aaaargh (none / 0) (#33)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 01:29:38 PM EST
    People are dispersing water on their own from pipes in the ground and any other way they can get it without security. It is possible to do it in an organized way without the use of armed guards. Ridiculous excuse.

    Vehicles and drivers are needed (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 01:33:57 PM EST
    and that is a big thing the National Guard can help with. But if anyone is saying they are not passing out food and water due to security concerns they need to be replaced.

    Some of the drivers won't drive (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 02:43:37 PM EST
    Into the interior without security. They are Puerto Rican truck drivers, they live there. It is dangerous in places right now.

    The Trump people (none / 0) (#14)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 01:00:21 PM EST
    seem to be a fire hose of incompetence, and, I am suspicious that the maladroitness also has an element of malintent--bad hombres and all. Also, it seems, Trump may just be learning that those born in Puerto Rico are American citizens.... perhaps, along with oceans being big and wet.  Probably, the same for his base.

    The mayor of San Juan was in tears as she thanked Miss Maddow on her MSNBC program for the opportunity to convey a desperate plea for help.  The mayor believed that the aid workers were professional and many were in place, but (as you observe) there was no one in charge. The mayor's pleas were greeted by the response of "send me a memo."


    The real problem is not necessarily (none / 0) (#17)
    by Peter G on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 03:17:25 PM EST
    the condition of the ports but rather the provision of the 1920 protectionist Jones Act that prohibits any but US-flag ships, sporting US crews, to dock in Puerto Rico, thus (in this instance) blocking foreign countries from providing aid.

    I found this article informative on why (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by vml68 on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 03:34:22 PM EST
    the Jones Act was suspended for Texas and Florida after Hurricane Harvey and Irma and not for Puerto Rico after Maria.

    Trump said (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 04:16:10 PM EST
    "a lot of people that work in the shipping industry don't want the Jones Act lifted."  Apparently, the Comfort has not yet sailed for P.R.  The go-ahead appears to have come just yesterday, and the ship is  getting stocked up.  Hope, unlike the "armada" that Trump sent toward North Korea last spring, this big hospital ship heads in the right direction.

    And, hopefully, too, some thought is being given to the air as well as to the sea in this humanitarian relief effort.  The circumstances are so dire, I might even tolerate Tom Price chartering a big private plane with water, food and medicine, on his way to visit his son.


    And how's that $1 million personal contribution (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by Peter G on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 04:23:37 PM EST
    for the victims of Harvey coming along? Any chance of another fictitious million for victims of Maria in Puerto Rico?

    And let's not forget the victims of Irma (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by Peter G on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 04:42:39 PM EST
    and Maria in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I understand there are a lot more black people there and a lot fewer white and brown than in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, but that couldn't be a significant reason we haven't heard boo about them in the last week, could it?

    For a supposed billionaire, he sure is (none / 0) (#22)
    by vml68 on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 04:53:06 PM EST
    tight-fisted even with his FAKE donations.

    A fake billionaire can afford (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Peter G on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 10:29:40 PM EST
    to make very generous fake donations.

    So finally, as of Thursday 9/28 (none / 0) (#28)
    by Peter G on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 12:17:23 PM EST
    the Administration announces it is waiving the Jones Act limitations for Puerto Rico aid.

    And as bmaz points out at emptywheel, (none / 0) (#30)
    by Anne on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 12:23:38 PM EST
    it's only a 10-day waiver, making it more of a public relations sham:

    Now, as to the sham. The waiver is only for ten days, and that time starts immediately.

    How long do you think it will take foreign ships to get loaded and travel to Puerto Rico from their point of origination? It will be days, if not weeks.

    As a comparison, the US Navy ship USNS Comfort, leaving from Norfolk Virginia will take at least five, if not more, days to reach Puerto Rico. At a speed of 17 knots, the Comfort travels at about the speed of an average container or fuel ship.

    Even if a foreign fuel or container ship was already loaded and ready to go this morning, it is clear that very few, if any, could arrive and unload in less that 5-7 days.

    This means, at the very best, Trump's "waiver" has maybe five days of use to Puerto Rico, an island of devastated American citizens that will be rebuilding and recovering for years.

    This just goes from bad to worse...


    I don't know what (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Zorba on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 03:18:45 PM EST
    Trump and his supporters are going to say or do if all 3.4 million Puerto Ricans show up on the mainland, having decided to abandon Puerto Rico.  
    (Of course, this would unfortunately mean those still left alive after regular transport is re-established.)
    These are American citizens. They have as much right to move to the mainland as a resident of one US state has to move to another.
    Not that I think that most of them would want to do so.  I'm sure that they love the place of their birth, and would rather see it restored and stay there.
    But, still......

    Oh, no. Not that! (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Peter G on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 03:58:24 PM EST
    If they move to the mainland (or to "the United States," as Puerto Ricans put it), then they would have the right to vote. Most of them vote for the local political party that is generally aligned with the Democrats. Can't have that, can we?

    Given this... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by jmacWA on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 04:04:30 PM EST
    I cant see why Trump hasn't done more to get the island back on it's feet.

    I think we should try to put them in PA, MI, and WS.


    Its been another busy Trump (none / 0) (#32)
    by KeysDan on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 12:57:40 PM EST
    week for lying, trickery and deceit. Jones waiver, ten days, starting now,  ACA repeal (we have the votes...no you don't), a yes vote senator is in the hospital...no he wasn't), getting really great reviews on Puerto Rico (from whom?), no tax cuts for the rich (of course, a lie),......

    Remember Dan Qualye's similar quote (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 10:37:48 AM EST
    about Hawaii?

    "Hawaii has always been a very pivotal role in the Pacific. It is in the Pacific. It is a part of the United States that is an island that is right here."

    Back then I thought we'd never have a bigger dunce in high office. Was I ever wrong.


    They need extra National Guard from (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 26, 2017 at 08:46:03 PM EST
    Other states in Puerto Rico NOW!

    Puerto Rico is about to experience a law and order breakdown. I can't believe this is happening. All because a son of a millionaire and his narcissism is having fits.

    I didn't vote for this, I didn't throw away my vote, still a lot of people are probably going to die :(


    Hillary Clinton has (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 07:35:04 AM EST
    called for help from the Navy, including the hospital ship, Comfort.   Apparently, the ship is now on its way.  Trump tweets while PR is a humanitarian crisis.

    His response when asked about his focus (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by vml68 on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 10:47:42 AM EST
    on the NFL instead of the crisis in Puerto Rico.
    "Was I preoccupied? Not at all. Not at all. I have plenty of time on my hands," Trump said defending his time spent on the subject. "All I do is work."

    Tr*mp making sure that the writers at The Onion remain jobless.


    It should have been on its way (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 11:11:54 AM EST
    Days ago! It should have been part of the Maria plan. It was obvious what was going to happen to Puerto Rico 24 hrs before it made landfall there.

    That is my thought. (none / 0) (#15)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 27, 2017 at 01:24:14 PM EST
    the ship should have been ready to go before Maria even hit. But then we have a government staffed by people who don't believe in weather science. So there's that.

    Well, I'm as (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 26, 2017 at 08:42:51 PM EST
    sick about it as you are Jeralyn. I understand that congress turned down allowing aid to go to Puerto Rico in their failure to suspend the Jones Act. (I might not be quite right on this). The way it sounds no food or anything is going to get there until next week at the earliest and that means people are going to die needlessly.

    There will be deaths because of that (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 26, 2017 at 08:47:53 PM EST
    But basic law and order is going to break first :(

    Hey, lay off the President (none / 0) (#29)
    by NYShooter on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 12:17:44 PM EST
    He'll get around helping Puerto Rico....
    ....after he's done fixing the N.F.L.

    Priorities, Traci, priorities.


    I (none / 0) (#31)
    by FlJoe on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 12:43:37 PM EST
    am surprised he hasn't assigned wonder boy Kushner to the task, but to be fair maybe he's cooking up a plan with Junior to supply them with moose meat.

    What a man... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by desertswine on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 02:17:29 PM EST
    Shooting a moose is like shooting a giant can of Spam, generally they just stand there and look at you. The Trumps are a vile bunch.  

    There you go again, Joe (none / 0) (#36)
    by NYShooter on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 02:31:47 PM EST
    always thinking the worst about the Trump family.

    Baby face, Kush, with his real estate business collapsing, had to "put meat on the table"  somehow. And, by leaving his SS detail behind he was only thinking about America, and its deficit problem. Since when is trying to save money for the American people a bad thing?

    From the article......."The Secret Service has been spread thin because of the Trump family's traveling habits, which include regular trips to President Donald Trump's resorts and golf properties as well as business trips to far-flung destinations around the world."

    Now, don't you feel bad?


    Not (none / 0) (#40)
    by FlJoe on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 03:28:06 PM EST
    as bad as the Moose, I suppose. Why do I suspect there is a flying squirrel involved? Does anyone know the whereabouts of Boris and Natasha during this time frame? Where is Dudley Do-Right when you need him?

    So many questions.


    Michael Brown is on CNN (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 08:03:34 AM EST
    Making excuses why Puerto Rico is in such crisis. He doesn't sound articulate, and he doesn't sound informed on the details of what has happened in Puerto Rico and why.

    The anchors showed him the photo (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 08:07:28 AM EST
    Of all the containers full of supplies not being dispersed, obviously the port is useable after he blabbed on and on about the scary port. At least he did say that troops should be on the ground today dispersing those supplies.

    Paging Mattis!!!


    The horse (none / 0) (#27)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 10:09:19 AM EST

    Yup (none / 0) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 28, 2017 at 02:46:57 PM EST
    Brownie had the audacity to step forward and talk messed up ports and scary docks that haven't been inspected. That's what the fricken Corp of Engineers is for.