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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

“The job that’s been done here is really nothing short of a miracle,” Donald Trump said early Tuesday during his trip to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. Coming from someone else, those words might have meant something. But from this president, it was just more empty babble meant to distract the world from noticing how poorly his administration has handled a crisis. (Trump is just haphazardly throwing around the word “miracle” these days, a word he also used to describe the Las Vegas mass shooting. Someone should tell him that “miracle” doesn’t mean what he thinks it means.)

Trump’s primary goal in Puerto Rico has been to zing  San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, whose pleas for help shined an unblinking light on this White House’s ineptitude. Oxfam America is now stepping in to fill the gaps in Trump’s woefully “inadequate” response. A German company is sending renewable power storage systems, citing “a mission to support humanity during a climate disaster.” Trump, for his part, rage-tweeted and golfed.

Then on Tuesday, Trump flew to Puerto Rico to spend as few hours as possible pretending to care about those afflicted by the hurricane. In that short time, he behaved in ways that, while now familiar, are still horrifying.

Here are the seven most unhinged moments from Trump’s Puerto Rico trip.

1. Reaffirmed neediness and narcissism by making the situation about himself.

Trump praised and thanked Puerto Rican politicians, not for how they handled the storm, but for how much they were willing to polish the turd that was his terrible relief efforts.

He’s not even from my party and he started right at the beginning appreciating what we did,” Trump said about Ricardo Rosselló, Puerto Rico’s governor. “He was giving us the highest grades, and on behalf of the country I want to thank you.”

While meeting with Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s sole representative in Congress, Trump brought up all the “nice things” he claimed she’d said off-camera, and then nudged her to repeat them for the press. The goal was clearly to get González-Colón on the record to counter the overwhelmingly negative reviews of the Trump administration’s performance in times of crisis (and every other second, really).

“It’s not about me,” Trump said, being sure to snub Mayor Cruz in his acknowledgments. “It’s about these incredible people from the military, to FEMA, the first responders.”

2. Fabricated lies about Puerto Rico’s truck drivers not doing their jobs.

CNN reports that roads on the island are covered in refuse from the storm as well as downed power lines, and that there remains a shortage of diesel fuel. The news outlet also notes that cellphone service is down across most of the region. In addition, many of the truck drivers on the island are dealing with the same suffering and loss afflicting most of Puerto Rico’s residents. Those factors have resulted in just 20 percent of drivers returning to work, according to Governor Rosselló.

Right-wing media sites including the Conservative Treehouse and Gateway Pundit seized on the issue—though not the contributing problems—and created fake news stories about lazy, greedy Puerto Rican truck drivers going on strike instead of delivering critical supplies. And since Trump collects his misinformation from these extreme right corners of the internet, he regurgitated the alternative facts as exculpatory evidence.

“Now the roads are cleared. Communication’s starting to come back,” Trump said, casually tossing off two lies. “We need their truck drivers. Their drivers have to start driving trucks. We have to do that. At a local level they have to give us more help.”

3. Tried to make survivors feel like he was doing them a favor by sending aid dollars.

Here’s what Trump said in a speech Tuesday morning, according to the Washington Post. If there is an award for World’s Most Charmless and Contemptible Person, this guy gets it. Hands down.

“Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico,” Trump said.

The Post reports that Trump, noting the lack of laughter at his crappy joke, added, “Which is fine.”

4. Told Puerto Ricans they should be happier more people aren’t dead.

Trump rightly compared his own incompetent response to Hurricane Maria to George W. Bush’s godawful efforts during 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. If the president were smarter, he probably wouldn’t have mentioned what we’re all thinking out loud—thus making his failure all the more vivid—but we’ve hit dumdum level infinity.

“If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous—hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died—and you look at what happened here, with really a storm that was just totally overpowering, nobody’s ever seen anything like this,” Trump said, as if Maria were some kind of “fake” catastrophe.

“What is your death count as of this moment?” he asked a local official. “Seventeen? Sixteen people certified, 16 people versus in the thousands.”

Aside from the offensiveness of death comparison shopping, the figure Trump cites has remained fixed for five days. Vox reports that the Center for Investigative Journalism conducted an unofficial survey of island hospitals. There are “now an estimated 60 confirmed deaths linked to the hurricane and possibly hundreds more to come.”

5. Fabricated more lies about the state of health care on the island, just like on the mainland.

“The power grid, honestly, was devastated before the hurricanes even hit,” Trump said, pettily sneaking in one more dig at the island. “Most of the hospitals are open—or at least partially open.”

The U.S. Naval Institute reports that as of Tuesday afternoon “only 10 of the island’s 69 hospitals were fully reconnected to the electrical grid.” Trump decided just to make up a story about how the hospitals are doing because when he tells the truth, it’s through some unexpected accident.

6. Here’s Trump  telling a survivor to ‘have a good time.’

7. Tossed essential supplies at expectant crowds, as if he were throwing T-shirts at basketball fans.

Along with a can of tinned chicken and a pack of batteries, Trump reportedly picked up items and randomly handed them out, because why get organized now.

“Flashlights, you don’t need them anymore. You don’t need them,” Trump told the assembled group, trying to will the crowd into believing his version of events, instead of the observable fact that 90 percent of the island is without power.

He reportedly picked up rolls of paper towels and tossed them into the audience; just another day of an absolutely despicable person being astonishingly despicable because this is life now.

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

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17 responses to “7 Most Unhinged Moments From Trump’s Puerto Rico Trip”

  1. ORAXX says:

    It isn’t going to get any better folks.

    • Dapper Dan says:

      No unfortunately it’s not as long as Dotard Donnie sits in the WhiteHouse preening with his Chocolate Cake and 2 scoops of Ice Cream. Meanwhile Puerto Rican’s can dine on paper towels

      • Tossing paper towels to besieged people. Only depraved Roman Emperors of the past would have sunk that low. No leader—PERIOD—in modern times has shown such uncouth circus-like behavior as Donald continually does. His parents may having a lot to atone for as they progress(or regress) in the after-life, simply on account of their miscreant son’s personality and not having trained him properly.

        • Dapper Dan says:

          I honestly don’t understand why the big giveaway of paper towels. I can’t imagine Puerto Rican’s needing it for anything in particular but wiping up spills

  2. Dominick Vila says:

    Trump’s inability to understand how detestable and embarrassing his comments and actions are is second only to the fact that millions of fellow Americans are giving him a free pass, that many among us agree with him, and that our elected officials are too greedy, hungry for power, and so alienated ideologically that they are willing to support a man whose behavior is downright shameful.

    • FireBaron says:

      And as far as many of his supporters are concerned, he shouldn’t even be wasting his time in a place like that, full of people not like “them”. Unfortunately, he is the creation of what the GOP has been doing since the ’68 election. Becoming more white, less educated, less concerned about equality, and generally incapable of earning higher wages due to their education. They prefer “less government” until they need their farms or properties rescued due to weather or poor location choices. They want a stronger military, but don’t want their children to have to serve. They believe in Law and Order, but don’t think the police chiefs who call for more firearms restrictions are right. They want tougher sentences, except when it’s their friends or relatives being punished.
      All in all, they and Teflon Donnie are a perfect match.

  3. bobnstuff says:

    This article missed the big one, the bail out that he promised that can’t happen. That part of his speech has already been walked back. Maybe if Puerto Rico was a golf course Trump would care or at least understand what happened there.

  4. FT66 says:

    Trump lacks leadership qualities and skills. This doesn’t surprise anyone as it was known before he was elected.

  5. rhetoric_phobic says:

    Cringe worthy.

  6. Dapper Dan says:

    You know in the past if a filmmaker was doing a movie featuring a US President they would fire the writer if the script matched trumps boorish behavior. No one would accept the premise that we could possibly have a president as bad as this one is. I feel like we’re stuck in The Twilight Zone and waiting for this nightmare to end. How can anyone still support this increasingly dangerous man as the president ? Again for the clueless this has nothing to do with partisanship. We’ve moved far beyond policy differences with this Narcissistic Babboon and he needs to go before he literally starts WWIII. as it is right now we’re in a cold Civil War at home. Never have I seen this nation as divided as it is today. We can’t even come together in the face of tragedy from the killer hurricanes to the savage massacre in Las Vegas. We need this idiot removed ASAP

    • TZToronto says:

      I’m still holding out hope that I’ll wake up on November 9, 2016, and this will all be a horrible dream. Then I’ll sit down at my computer and write a book about a President who is totally unfit for any office but somehow wins the election. There’s lots of raw material here. I hope I beat Steven King to the punch.

  7. Richard Prescott says:

    Trump takes it past the crazy level of the movie Idiocracy.

    • Independent1 says:

      The cause of added suffering in PR was due to Trump’s distractions during the first critical days after the storm; although the governor of PR had requested more help, the Trump Administration is passing the buck around claiming they hadn’t received the requests for earlier deployment of DOD resources to open up roads and get the San Juan Airport back working much faster.

      Here’s an article of where the blame mostly is and what went wrong. And here’s the summary conclusion of the researching what went wrong:

      Here’s What Trump Did Wrong in Puerto Rico
      Some reports indicate that the Trump administration has been slow to
      grant requests for aid. Four days after Maria hit, Governor Rosselló
      told Politico that the island needed “more resources from the Department of Defense so we can get helicopters and resources.” And the White House has reportedly refused to answer questions about whether Trump was briefed by anyone directly involved in hurricane response in the first three days after
      the devastation become clear.

      Redlener—who, for what it’s worth, praised the response from both FEMA
      and the Department of Health and Human Services —said it’s clear that Trump still holds some of the blame for the military’s slow response, no
      matter who was waiting for who. “I’m reminded of Harry Truman’s desk
      plaque: ‘The Buck Stops Here,’” he said, slamming Trump for being
      preoccupied by golf and social media during a humanitarian disaster. “If the White House had been more engaged, less disinterested, less distracted by kneeling football players and Twitter, I’d like to think we would have had an earlier, much more robust response.”

      • RichFromShowMe says:

        You can’t go further Left than “Mother Jones”, which was founded on basic honesty and independent living in the mid 1970’s but morphed into a true propaganda arm of the Democrat, Socialist and Communist Parties of America.

        • Independent1 says:

          And opinions can’t go any further to the absolutely extreme right, fascist, Nazi-like opinions of totally corrupt individuals like you.

  8. Trump is hopeless, a churl of the first order, a wart. Item 3 stands out for me as the very worst sentiment—people are suffering and he is so despicable he brings up the issue of money owed by the country. That alone is the epitome of a wasted man who is just taking up space, and inhaling air that would be better used if taken in by anyone else.

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