In Focus: Was Trump’s reaction to Puerto Rico’s disaster acceptable?


Trump continues to terrorize the twitter community from his tower.

President Donald Trump’s approval rating is down 20 percent after responses to Hurricane Maria, according to a CNN poll. Trump gives himself a 10 out of 10 on federal effort, yet Puerto Rico’s mayor says more like 10 out of 100.

Maddi Smith

As the representative of the continental U.S. and its territories, President Donald Trump is a complete disgrace when it comes to how he handled the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

When Hurricane Maria first made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 16, just a week after Hurricane Irma left an esimated one million people without power, according to a Sept. 30 BusinessInsider article, Trump remained entirely focused on the NFL protests and completely ignored the devastation in Puerto Rico. His actions show he is arrogant and thoughtless when it comes to helping others.

When San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz asked the government to provide more resources following the disaster, Trump took to twitter on Sept. 30 to complain about how Puerto Rican officials want “everything to be done for them,” and accused Cruz of having poor leadership skills.

Days later on Oct. 3, during a meeting with local Puerto Rican leaders in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Trump focused heavily on the cost of helping Puerto Ricans.

“We have gone all out for Puerto Rico,” Trump said during an Oct. 3 televised briefing. “It’s not only dangerous, it’s expensive,” “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you are throwing our budget out of whack. We spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that’s fine.”

Despite the fact Trump went to Puerto Rico and did meet with local officials and hurricane victims, his attitude toward the whole process completely undermines what he did there. His talk of money completely skewed the reason for being there, and like when he visited the U.S. Virgin Islands, it’s obvious he forgot that he’s the president of the territory. After visiting Puerto Rico and then the U.S. Virgin Islands, Trump said he spoke to the president of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s an obvious lie seeing as Trump is, in fact, the president of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. This ignorance obviously impacted how he treated the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

Trump’s actions only got worse from there. When he was able to meet with people directly affected by the hurricane, he took the time to praise the Puerto Rican officials for their low death toll, and then, in a scene of never before seen condescension, he literally threw paper towel rolls into the crowd at a hurricane relief center, according to an Oct. 3 NBC News article.

People called him out for his behavior, including Puerto Rican leaders whom also took issue with what Trump said. Trump defended his actions by saying his relief efforts following Maria “at least” paralleled that of Harvey and Irma, then president rated his relief efforts a 10/10, according to an Oct. 8 NBC News article.

“If it’s a 10 out of a scale of 100, of course. It’s still a failing grade,” said San Juan Major, Carmen Yulín Cruz, according to an Oct. 20 CNN article.

Trump acted as though he went out of his way to help people whom he had no connection to, as though he was simply doing them a favor. However, Puerto Ricans are Americans ,whether Trump remembers this or not, and they deserve the same kind of relief efforts that occurred during all of the mainland hurricanes.

Trump can’t seem to move past the idyllic view that he has of himself. He can’t stop praising himself long enough to actually help anybody. Instead of humbling himself and going to help people who are struggling without shelter, food, electricity, or water, he went to Puerto Rico and made sure everyone knew he was tossing paper towels out from the goodness of his heart, and not because the U.S. owes Puerto Rico any kind of human decency or aid.

Alyson Schott

In response to the disaster in Puerto Rico, Trump argued the military should not be helping with distribution efforts and blamed the shortcomings on local distribution when in reality, we need to be involved and take charge to help those affected.

I don’t agree with what Donald Trump is saying about how it isn’t the military’s job to distribute the supplies throughout the country. It is in all enlisted personnels’ job description that they are to “participate in, or support, combat and other military operations, such as humanitarian or disaster relief,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I also think Trump could have helped prevent the territory’s complete power outage by giving funding to Puerto Rico for the already poor electrical grid and infrastructure he said have been a disaster since before the hurricanes on Twitter Oct. 12.

Puerto Rico needs all the help it can get. So, let the military be there to help support the people in need and help distribute the supplies that were sent. The island is already struggling with the fallout of Maria with the lack of supplies and the over 3 million people without electricity, according to the Oct. 16 CNN article. Those affected don’t need this criticism about them already being in rough shape when it comes to their now non-existent infrastructure and not needing help from the president.

“It was in really bad shape before,” Trump said at an Oct. 16 White House news conference. If the island was already in rough shape before the hurricanes passed through, Trump could have done something to fix the poor electrical grid by funding them the supplies and money to fix the electricity problem.If he did that, there could have been more power provided to the island. It’s called prevention. 

Trump needs to realize that people, especially the military, should be out there helping as much as they can.

Mackenzie Meadows

In the November presidential election President Donald Trump had my vote, but his tweets are turning meaway. His responses to the hurricanes, to the NFL and to Puerto Rico are completely childish and unbecoming of the man I voted for. I will wholeheartedly stand by my president, but his actions regarding social media are out of hand and have to stop. He has talked about issues regarding hurricanes, the NFL, and things like TV shows and “fake news” all while sounding more like a complaining teenager rather than the President of the United States.

After word spread of NFL football players not standing for the national anthem Trump took to twitter. “NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN [sic]. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back US [sic],” said Trump in a Sept 24. tweet.

His childish tactics are taking away from what actually matters like the damages and deaths recenthurricanes have caused in Puerto Rico and other areas. “If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people had died, and you look at what happened here it was really a storm that was bad but only 16 people died compared to the thousands, you can be very proud,” said Trump during an Oct. 3 news conference. He also said Puerto Rico has thrown the American budget, “out of whack.”

He continually takes to social media and says the most “out of whack” things because he can. He is taking legitimacy away from his own presidency because everyone is just focusing on his tweets and are more interested on the drama he is causing on social media; he’s ruining his own reputation.