President Trump continues to dismiss U.S. citizens. While visiting the devastated Puerto Rico on Tuesday (Oct. 3), Trump made some tasteless comments, indicating that the current situation in the island was not a “real catastrophe,” although they have been without water, supplies, and electricity for days. In the same breath, he also compared the casualty rate to that of the one in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget all out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico,” he said. “Every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died and you look at what happened here with, really, a storm that was just totally overpowering.”
Although he acknowledged that “every death” is tragic, he countered his statements by comparing the fatalities between the 2005 and 2017 tropical storms. “What is your death count?” Trump asked the Puerto Rican governor, Ricardo Rosselló, who was sitting beside him. “Sixteen, certified,” Rosselló replied.
Here's Trump comparing the death count in Puerto Rico to the death count in a "real catastrophe like Katrina" pic.twitter.com/lNCz4wYvMn
— Tasneem N (@TasneemN) October 3, 2017
“Sixteen people certified. Sixteen people versus in the thousands,” Trump said. “You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud. Everybody around this table and everybody watching can really be very proud of what’s been taking place in Puerto Rico.” Trump then proceeded to boast about what his team has done to aid in relief efforts.
Yes, Puerto Rico has only confirmed 16 deaths compared to New Orleans’ 1,800. But that still doesn’t take away from the greater issue. Last week (Sept. 29), San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz pleaded with the Trump administration and U.S. government to lend more aid. “We are dying here, and I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles,” Cruz said. “Mayday! We are in trouble.”
Although Trump previously attacked the mayor on Twitter, hopefully he can wake up and prioritize the needs of others instead of comparing and contrasting.