Trump silent as Puerto Rico slammed by over 2 dozen earthquakes

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Trump has made time to rail against impeachment and complain about water pressure, but has refused to speak out personally in support of the island's residents.

Donald Trump has maintained a rigid silence in the days since a massive 6.4 magnitude earthquake rippled across Puerto Rico on Jan. 7.

In a departure from his typical frenzied social media activity, Trump has not tweeted once to offer support nor give encouragement to the island's residents, who are still working to recover following a series of natural disasters.

Since Dec. 28, Puerto Rico has been hit with more than two dozen magnitude 4.5 or higher earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The most powerful quakes occurred on Jan. 7, followed four days later by a magnitude 5.9 aftershock that resulted in additional damage to the island territory.

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According to the Associated Press, the quakes have caused one death, nine injuries, an estimated $110 million in damages, and left hundreds of people homeless.

Yet the last time Trump made mention of Puerto Rico was during a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military, and only in an offhand remark. Trump last tweeted about Puerto Rico — whose residents are American citizens — was in August 2019, when Hurricane Dorian avoided making landfall on the island.

Since the quakes started on Dec. 28, Trump has tweeted or retweeted about impeachment 35 times.

During a Tuesday night rally in Wisconsin, one week after the Jan. 7 earthquake, Trump dedicated several minutes to complaining about water pressure, dishwashers, showers, sinks, and toilets. Trump also complained about energy-efficient light bulbs, unhappy that they give his skin an orange hue.

He did not find time to discuss the earthquakes in Puerto Rico.

When asked about Trump's silence on the matter on Jan. 9 by CNN, the White House press office insisted that its official statement about the earthquakes in Puerto Rico was sufficient, claiming such documents speak for the president.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump has a history of troubling behavior toward Puerto Rico.

He faced withering criticism following Hurricane Maria, which made landfall on the island in 2017. Trump denied the death toll, which reached into the thousands; publicly sparred with Puerto Rican officials during the recovery effort; and was roundly mocked for tossing paper towels to residents like a basketball during a brief visit to assess the hurricane damage.

The Trump administration also withheld for months billions of dollars in federal funds intended to help Puerto Rico recover from the hurricane, finally agreeing to release $8.2 billion in aid in January 2020.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.