Trump Visit to Puerto Rico


Photo: Associated Press

Tuesday, October 3rd marks President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was recently left devastated by Hurricane Maria, the worst storm to hit the island in a century. For the past two weeks, the residents of Puerto Rico have been struggling to live without basic necessities such as power, clean water, food, and medical care. After the storm first hit, 100% of the island was out of power and many people’s homes were destroyed. As Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and not connected to the mainland, getting help to the island has a challenge due to the restrictions on shipments. FEMA and the federal government, as well as various charity organizations and relatives of Puerto Rican residents living on the mainland, are doing their best to aid Puerto Rico. However, more recently, FEMA and the U.S. government have been more efficient with getting emergency supplies to the island, with meals being distributed and a hospital ship on the way.

Trump has been criticized in the media for not guiding enough public attention towards Puerto Rico directly after the storm hit, instead tweeting often about the NFL controversy. Trump did, however, tweet about Puerto Rico once on the day the storm hit, but did not focus heavily on the island and the relief efforts being put forth by FEMA and the federal government until a few days after the initial impact of the storm. In the past few days, he has been tweeting about the relief efforts that he believes the “fake news” are trying to hide from the American people, saying “To the People of Puerto Rico: do not believe the #FakeNews.”

The information that the United States government has released through the Pentagon says that 4,500 American troops are on the ground in Puerto Rico, and many different relief efforts, including trucks with fuel and meal distribution are being provided within the next few days or weeks. However, many people are saying that this relief is too little, too late. Among the critics is the San Juan mayor. Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has spent the last week asking Trump and the federal government for more help, saying that they are not doing enough to help the people of Puerto Rico. Trump came back and attacked her on Twitter, saying that she and other Puerto Ricans “want everything to be done for them.”

During the 24 hour long visit from the First Couple, Trump will be meeting with first responders, government officials, and victims of the storm to check on the relief efforts and impact of the hurricane. He will most likely keep us updated on the ground through twitter, informing us about the federal government’s aid to the Puerto Rican people. His reception by the Puerto Rican people will most likely be mixed, and it is unknown if he will be meeting with San Juan mayor.

Regardless of the politicization of this terrible natural disaster, the United States must support and aid Puerto Rico. There are still ways to donate and get involved, so don’t hesitate to help out.