Conservatives are building a narrative to abandon Puerto Rico. (More)

“If so many people weren’t sitting around waiting for roads to clear themselves”

For four critical days, the God-King played golf, argued on Twitter … and ignored the devastation of Hurricane Maria:

As Hurricane Maria made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, there was a frenzy of activity publicly and privately. The next day, President Trump called local officials on the island, issued an emergency declaration and pledged that all federal resources would be directed to help.

But then for four days after that – as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico struggled for food and water amid the darkness of power outages – Trump and his top aides effectively went dark themselves.

Trump jetted to New Jersey that Thursday night to spend a long weekend at his private golf club there, save for a quick trip to Alabama for a political rally. Neither Trump nor any of his senior White House aides said a word publicly about the unfolding crisis.

Trump did hold a meeting at his golf club that Friday with half a dozen Cabinet officials – including acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke, who oversees disaster response – but the gathering was to discuss his new travel ban, not the hurricane. Duke and Trump spoke briefly about Puerto Rico but did not talk again until Tuesday, an administration official said.

Administration officials would not say whether the president spoke with any other top officials involved in the storm response while in Bedminster, N.J. He spent much of his time over those four days fixated on his escalating public feuds with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with fellow Republicans in Congress and with the National Football League over protests during the national anthem.

Four. Days.

When acting Homeland Security Sec. Elaine Duke finally addressed the crisis – 8 days after Maria struck the island – she declared it “a good-news story in terms of our ability to reach people.”

But the people of Puerto Rico see it differently:

“Well maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story,” [San Juan Mayor Carmen] Yulín Cruz told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota after she was played the clip on New Day. “When you’re drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story. When you don’t have food for a baby, it’s not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from buildings — I’m sorry, that really upsets me and frustrates me.”

She continued: “I would ask you (Duke) to come down here and visit the towns and then make a statement like that, because frankly, it is an irresponsible statement in contrast with the statements of support that I have been getting yesterday when I got that call from the White House. Dammit, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story. It’s a life-or-death story.”

The Army general responsible for relief efforts isn’t satisfied either:

Army Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan said Friday morning that the Pentagon has 10,000 people helping with the response after Hurricanes Irma and Maria ripped through Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands earlier this month.

“We’re certainly bringing in more [troops],” Buchanan said on CNN’s New Day.

“For example, on the military side, we’re bringing in both Air Force, Navy, and Army medical capabilities in addition to aircraft, more helicopters. … [But] it’s not enough, and we’re bringing more in.”

General Buchanan just arrived on Thursday – again, eight days after the storm hit – and the administration insists that was fast enough:

Tom Bossert, the President Trump’s homeland security adviser, has defended the wait time in between the end of the storm and appointing Buchanan.

“It didn’t require a three-star general eight days ago,” Bossert said of the government response.

When asked whether it was a mistake to not have Buchanan on the ground in Puerto Rico earlier, Bossert replied, “No, not at all.”

“In fact, that doesn’t effect the way that we stage equipment and the way we area command and field operational command. This is textbook and it’s been done well,” Bossert told reporters Thursday at the daily White House press briefing.

Someone please put “You’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie” to music, so the God-King and his lackeys can sing it together. He’s blamed the island’s government and their debt for the damage:

His latest excuse? Well, read it for yourself:

All of appropriate departments of our government, from Homeland Security to Defense, are engaged fully in the disaster, and the response and recovery effort probably has never been seen for something like this.

This is an island. Surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water.

Y’know what else is “surrounded by water … big water … ocean water?” Haiti:

After an earthquake shattered Haiti’s capital on Jan. 12, 2010, the U.S. military mobilized as if it were going to war.

Before dawn the next morning, an Army unit was airborne, on its way to seize control of the main airport in Port-au-Prince. Within two days, the Pentagon had 8,000 American troops en route. Within two weeks, 33 U.S. military ships and 22,000 troops had arrived. More than 300 military helicopters buzzed overhead, delivering millions of pounds of food and water.

No two disasters are alike. Each delivers customized violence that cannot be fully anticipated. But as criticism of the federal government’s initial response to the crisis in Puerto Rico continued to mount Thursday, the mission to Haiti – an island nation several hundred miles from the U.S. mainland – stands as an example of how quickly relief efforts can be mobilized.

Put “the response and recovery effort probably has never been seen for something like this” in the same basket alongside the God-King’s boasts about his inaugural crowd, and his claim that Obamacare repeal failed because Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is in the hospital. Except Sen. Cochran hasn’t been in the hospital, and the repeal effort failed because 48 Senate Democrats and four Senate Republicans opposed it. Complete. Bullshit.

Bonus Bullshit: Outhouse Sewer Spewer Sarah Huckabee Sanders said yesterday that Senate Republicans had a majority “on the substance” of repealing Obamacare, but couldn’t get a majority for a specific process or bill. Yes. Really.

So let’s review … four days of golf and Twitter wars with nary a meeting or call about Puerto Rico … but it’s “a good news story about reaching people” … except for, you know, the people who aren’t actually being reached, says San Juan’s mayor … because there aren’t enough troops, says the general leading the relief effort … who arrived just two days ago, but he wasn’t needed sooner, insists the God-King’s administration … because everyone’s doing a great job … except for Puerto Ricans, who are ass-deep in debt … but still, the biggest relief effort ever … except for that water … unlike Haiti … bullshit … bullshit … bullshit …

… so it’s Puerto Rico’s fault:

Playing basketball while watching a group of volunteers clear debris from the road….extended family pow-wows on the porch after Dad’s exhausting day of sitting in a line for 4 hours to get a propane tank to grill some steaks….complaining to reporters about people not reaching them with supplies quickly enough.  

Kinda seems like the process could be helped along quite a bit if so many people weren’t sitting around waiting for roads to clear themselves, and for supplies to distribute themselves, no? Therein lies a key difference that makes this recovery effort so much more difficult than the ones in Texas and Florida, beyond just the level of devastation caused by the different storms. It’s the same reason PR is a mismanaged, corrupt cesspool that’s been bankrupt for years while impatiently waiting on the feds to do something about it.

Yeah, that’s an anonymous reader comment at the Washington Post. But it’s not unique among reader comments at the Post, and it’s echoed across talk radio and wingnut websites as conservatives scurry to the God-King’s dog whistles and rally ’round his flag. And then there’s the God-King himself, this morning:

He and his fans are laying the narrative groundwork for abandoning Puerto Rico. Certainly not rebuilding with the same funding they’ll throw at Houston or Florida. Maybe not at all. They’re “a mismanaged, corrupt cesspool that’s been bankrupt for years” and – with all the money we have to spend on Houston and Florida – we just can’t afford it.

Because “America First!”


Photo Credit: Alex Wroblewski (Getty Images)


Good day and good nuts