Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Should Puerto Ricans Welcome Señor Trumpanzee?


Apparently when Señor Trumpanzee came down off his weekend Adderall high, someone persuaded him to delete his horrific tweets attacking the mayor of San Juan and disparaging the victims of Hurricane Maria as lazy bums. But his sordid web of lies is embedded into the mind of horrified Americans. As you can see, most Americans don't believe his bullshit any more anyway.

I think PolitiFact's fact-check on Trump's lies about Puerto Rico prompted his deleting the deranged tweets. Remember, in his war against reality, Trump denounced CNN and NBC for spreading "fake news" about the calamity in Puerto Rico as the Regime's mantra started being repeated non-stop: "the damage was caused by the weather not by us."
The situation in Puerto Rico is fluid and some details are missing. Rather than a hard and fast fact-check, we’ll compare Trump’s tweets to the information we do have.

Trump sent this tweet Sept. 30. We asked the White House what stories the president had in mind. They had no comment so we reviewed the CNN and NBC coverage in the days before Trump’s tweet.

Both news organizations mainly reported the struggles on the ground in Puerto Rico, but the day before his tweet, both had stories that cast his administration in a bad light.

There’s no dispute that life right now is desperately hard on the American territory. At most, 5 percent of the population has electricity. Hospitals are running on generators. Food supplies are limited.

On Sept. 27, CNN reported that over 10,000 containers of supplies, including food, water and medicine, were sitting on the docks in San Juan. Damaged roads, a shortage of diesel fuel, and a shortage of drivers were blocking the distribution of goods. Over the next two days, several other news organizations reported the same problem.

The Wall Street Journal said the shipping company Crowley Maritime Corp. had 4,100 containers at the port. Another firm, Tote Maritime, had more than 3,000. NPR and the Guardian had similar stories.

Crowley Maritime posted a press release on Sept. 25 saying, "The key to providing relief to citizens impacted by Hurricane Maria will be expediting local transportation and distribution of the cargo." It followed up on Sept. 29 with a statement that Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, shipments were moving through, but it still had 4,100 commercial loads of food, clothing and building supplies awaiting distribution.

Crowley Maritime also said a barge was on its way with 100 fuel delivery trucks and 275,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

Both CNN and NBC had stories on the struggles of average Puerto Ricans. NBC reported on Sept. 28 that half of the population faced a lack of drinking water. The latest numbers from the government of Puerto Rico show water is in short supply. In several zones where water is available, it only flows every other day. In the hardest-hit western region, only 19 percent of the population has access to water.

In these stories and others, we found that CNN and NBC accurately reflected the hardships faced by Puerto Ricans. We found no evidence of fabricated reports or exaggerations.

But the news organizations also had stories that were critical of the administration’s response. The day before Trump’s tweet, CNN wrote about the blowback on a comment from acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke that the recovery effort was a "good news story." CNN said the White House "feels the heat."

NBC noted that for all the criticism of the government’s response to Katrina in 2005, it moved faster than it has so far in Puerto Rico. Congress approved money more quickly and sent more people and relief supplies. While Washington did cut checks faster for Katrina, simple comparisons can gloss over important distinctions.

Puerto Rico has about 3.4 million people, fewer than the estimated 5.8 million people who were in the states that Katrina affected. Plus, it is simply easier to get people and materials to any place on the mainland than it is to an island.

As he often does, Trump applied the fake news tag liberally. But there is no indication that the reporting was inaccurate.

Trump’s claim here is basically unsupported. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz got on Trump’s bad side when she criticized Washington’s response and said, "If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency."

Trump shot back with a tweet aimed at Cruz. Leadership in a crisis can be hard to judge, but we can look at whether the mayor of San Juan and others were unable to get their workers to help.

FEMA administrator Brock Long had some good things to say about Puerto Ricans in general, but was less complimentary about Mayor Cruz.

"The Puerto Ricans are pulling their weight," Long said on This Week on ABC News Oct. 1. "I mean, I think they're doing what they can."

But Long suggested that Cruz had not spent as much time as she should have with FEMA staff.

"The problem is, if you're not connected into that joint field office, then you don't understand commanders' intent," Long said. "You don't understand the successes of what's been done versus what needs to be done where the gaps are."

Reporting on the ground paints a different picture of Cruz. Washington Post reporters described a woman out in the streets connecting with residents. The city delivered tanks of water to neighborhoods. With the electric grid in shambles, city workers, including Cruz, handed out solar-powered lanterns.

Coordination between the San Juan mayor’s office and FEMA might have fallen short, but that is not the only way to measure that mayor or any other mayor’s effort to help provide relief.

Trump is on thin ice with this claim.

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At 11:29 AM, Blogger Paul Lukasiak said...

I watched Trump's photo ops in Puerto Rico -- they were nauseating. He actually had the nerve to belittle the suffering of the people of Puerto Rico, comparing Maria to "a real catastrophe like Katrina" and asking for the "death count" in Puerto Rico to contrast it to the "thousands" (actually less than 900) who died as a result of Katrina. Not once did he ask a question about the relief effort, what the situation was, or what needed to be done.

It was all about how wonderful Creepy Donald and his team were, and it was disgusting.

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puerto Ricans should have thrown their sewage on him, his entourage and his plane. They should have ran him off the island on a rail.

They didn't.

There is only one thing assholes and bullies understand -- Getting their asses kicked well and often.


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