Trump threatens to end disaster relief for Puerto Ricans in most malicious tantrum yet


Trump seems determined to watch the island drown in Hurricane Maria despair.

Just days after releasing a self-congratulatory propaganda video and declaring that he had personally saved Puerto Rico in the wake of the historic devastation that Hurricane Maria delivered, Donald Trump in a pre-dawn Twitter tantrum on Thursday suggested that FEMA might soon end its relief campaign there.

It’s yet another display of callousness from a man who seems incapable of common decency. Trump from day one has shown virtually no interest in helping the island, has repeatedly suggested the island is to blame for its own devastation, and obsessively attacked critics of his response, including the mayor of San Juan.

Trump seems content with letting the island drown in despair.

Trump’s latest Twitter attack, which blames Puerto Rico for its current woes, cites Sharyl Attkisson. She’s a discredited, Obama-hating, right-wing writer who spent years peddling hollow Benghazi conspiracies.

We’ve simply never seen, at least not in modern American history, a state or commonwealth such as Puerto Rico leveled by a natural disaster only to have the federal government and its leader in the White House actively refusing to deliver aid and comfort to the people. It’s simply unheard for the president and his staff to constantly taunt and attack public officials who are trying to provide aid and comfort to desperate citizens.

Since the storm hit on Sept. 20, Trump has been far more interested in golfing and trolling the NFL than he has been in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, the slow-motion relief response continues to be, on some levels, an unmitigated disaster. Three weeks after the storm hit, the vast majority of the island remains in darkness and likely won’t have electricity until 2018. News reports continue to air about regions of the island that remain virtually untouched by the any relief effort. The death toll and disease continue to spread across the ravaged island. Hospitals are running low on fuel and medicine.

That’s why just 33 percent of Americans approve of how Trump is handling disaster relief effort, according to an Associated Press poll.

Earlier this month, the global anti-poverty group Oxfam released a blistering assessment of the muddled, Trump-led relief effort:

Oxfam has monitored the response in Puerto Rico closely, and we are outraged at the slow and inadequate response the US Government has mounted in Puerto Rico. Clean water, food, fuel, electricity, and health care are in desperately short supply and quickly dwindling, and we’re hearing excuses and criticism from the administration instead of a cohesive and compassionate response.

Last week, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Nevares sent a letter to Congress beseeching funds to recover from the “unprecedented catastrophe” that has hit the island. Nevares referred to a “humanitarian crisis” after the hurricane, and warned of the “unmet basic needs of the American citizens of Puerto Rico” becoming “even greater” unless Congress.

Trump seems to realize the effort to rebuild Puerto Rico will be long and hard. And he wants no part of it.