Trump to Puerto Rico: drop dead

Trump is also bullying Puerto Rico again, because why wouldn’t you bully 3 million people on an island devastated by a hurricane? What’s it all for if you can’t have that kind of fun?

President Trump suggested again on Thursday that Puerto Rico bore some of the blame for its current crisis following twin hurricanes, and warned that there were limits to how long he would keep troops and federal emergency workers on the island to help.

Mr. Trump, who has been criticized for a slow and not always empathetic response to the storms that ravaged the United States territory, sounded off in a series of early-morning Twitter posts. Angry about the criticism, he has sought to refocus blame to where he believes it belongs — the leadership of the island itself, which in his view mismanaged its affairs long before the winds blew apart its infrastructure.

“‘Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.’ says Sharyl Attkisson,” he wroteciting the host of a public affairs show on Sinclair Broadcast Group television stations. “A total lack of accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend. We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

Yeah yeah yeah – but really it’s because they’re brown and Spanish-speaking. He can’t be doing with people who aren’t pale and English-speaking.

While some sort of normalcy has been restored in San Juan, residents of the more isolated interior municipalities were still struggling with a precarious health situation and problems with aid distribution. Although 86 percent of supermarkets are now open, the government could not ensure that they were fully stocked with food and water.

Despite Mr. Trump’s tweets, administration officials said the federal government would be helping Puerto Rico recover from storm damage for years. The Federal Emergency Management Agency posted its own message on Twitter: “.@FEMA will be w/Puerto Rico, USVI, every state, territory impacted by a disaster every day, supporting throughout their response & recovery.”

It’s a fine thing when FEMA has to correct a president who claims we’re going to abandon people in peril after a hurricane.

Other agencies were committed to long-term efforts as well. The United States Army Corps of Engineers, for example, is helping rebuild the electrical grid badly damaged by the storm, a construction effort that could take years. In addition, other agencies helping in recovery efforts, like the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, have a permanent presence on the island and are unlikely to go anywhere.

As for Mr. Trump’s assertion that he could not keep “first responders” on the island forever, one official called it nonsense. Such responders include police officers, firefighters and paramedics from localities around the United States who are not under the control of the president.

Well maybe Trump can pass some kind of emergency decree to get them all sent home.

Mr. Trump’s tweets left his advisers in the awkward position of trying to explain what he meant or distancing themselves from his apparent meaning. At a House hearing on Thursday, Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, seemed deeply uncomfortable under questioning from Representative Maxine Waters of California, a Democrat who pressed him on whether he agreed with the president.

“So you don’t agree that it should be abandoned, is that right?” she asked.

“Of course it should not be abandoned,” he replied.

“Should they be shamed for its own plight?” she asked.

“I don’t think it is beneficial to go around shaming people in general,” he said.

Tell your boss.

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