When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico two weeks ago, no one could have imagined it would cause as much damage and devastation as it did. 16 deaths have been confirmed; a number that is expected to rise even further in the coming days.
The island has been affected so badly that San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz went on television last week begging for more help. Cruz also questioned the relief effort by the United States, a sentiment shared by many.
President Donald Trump did not take the criticism lightly. He tweeted, “They want everything done for them when it should be a community effort.”
Trump’s comments do not reflect the current situation of the island. Most of the 3.4 million residents do not have running water, electricity or fuel. How can the president expect a community effort when most people on the island do not have water to drink?
It is also important to note that Puerto Rico has been going through a debt crisis that has had a harsh impact on its population. According to the Borgen Project, just under half of its residents were living below the poverty line in 2015. This means a huge part of the population does not have the money to afford necessary supplies, which are already very limited.
The debt crisis has also had a negative impact on the circulation of emergency supplies throughout the island. Large quantities of water and other products are not making their way to residents because of a fuel shortage.
The president’s public display of criticism towards Cruz should not have happened. She has the right to be critical of how the crisis has been handled by the government. A territory of the United States should not have so much trouble recovering two weeks after the storm hit.
Now looking at another situation that began unfolding this past Saturday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed to the public that the United States has ongoing “direct contact” with North Korea. You’d think this would be a good thing, something to help put the minds of the American people at ease? You’d think the president would back up and support Tillerson’s efforts?
Nope. Not this President. Instead, Trump decided to take to Twitter again, saying that he told Tillerson he is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
“Little Rocket Man,” if you don’t already know, refers to Kim Jong-Un, the leader of North Korea.
But he didn’t stop there. He tweeted on Sunday “…Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done.”
The president of the United States managed to undermine his Secretary of State in the most public way possible while also all but guaranteeing his will to go to war with North Korea.
These last couple of weeks have shown a divisive and dysfunctional administration. Either Trump’s staff realizes how terrible he looks with every tweet and has done nothing about it, or the president simply just doesn’t care. I’m not sure which possibility is worse.