Trump demands Puerto Rico praise FEMA as he strips its money


Tropical Storm Dorian will hit Puerto Rico later today, so naturally Trump is spending time stripping money from FEMA and lashing out at the mayor of San Juan.

Tropical Storm Dorian is set to blast Puerto Rico later today, but all Trump is doing is being petty about it.

Wednesday morning, he tweeted,"We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico. FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You — Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!"

There's a lot to unpack in that tweet.

First, the odd "as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico." Is he saying that all tropical storms and hurricanes hit Puerto Rico? While the island does see its fair share of hurricanes, it's roughly in keeping with how many hurricanes hit elsewhere in any given season.

Additionally, if Puerto Rico was perpetually in the crosshairs of storm after storm, that should mean the U.S. should beef up aid to the island and the overall infrastructure there. We really are obliged to, as it is a U.S. territory — something Trump seems to forget.

Next, there's his assertion that "FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job" and that when they do, everyone should "give them a big Thank You — Not like last time." The fact is that FEMA wasn't ready last time and has failed the island miserably.

They wasted millions of taxpayer dollars by awarding contracts to companies with no disaster relief background, resulting in vital supplies like tarps sitting and rotting, rather than being distributed to people who needed them. Another inexperienced company hired by FEMA failed to deliver over 30 million emergency meals to hurricane survivors on the island.

FEMA didn't just do a shoddy job last time. They're being set up to fail this time because Trump has stripped disaster aid funding from the agency to build his unnecessary border wall. NBC News confirmed Tuesday that $155 million from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund would be going to find temporary locations for court hearings at the border. It's quite the move as hurricane season begins in earnest, particularly given that Dorian will likely be a Category 2 hurricane when it makes landfall in Florida later this week.

Trump couldn't let this tweet go by without also picking a fight with the mayor of San Juan, who he found insufficiently grateful for his meager efforts during and after Hurricane Maria. Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz begged Trump for more help in the immediate aftermath of that storm and blasted him, rightly so, when he called his administration's slipshod efforts there a "success." She spent the hurricane and its now years-long aftermath standing up for her people, and Trump hates her for it.

Perhaps Trump can go down in the aftermath of the storm and throw some paper towels at the displaced citizens of Puerto Rico. That definitely helped a lot last time.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.