If there’s one thing you can count on Donald Trump to do, it is to take the most basic of presidential tasks and fuck it up. No, I’m not talking about the 9/11 photo. I’m talking about today’s Oval Office briefing on Hurricane Florence.
Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen were there with some big charts that showed Florence’s potential impacts and track. All Trump had to do was look at them seriously, tell the people in the Carolinas the federal government will be there for them, and say that his administration would be monitoring the storm. Maybe offer some thoughts and prayers. Done!
But no. After referring to Hurricane Florence as “tremendously big and tremendously wet” which was honestly funny and true, Trump decided to invoke Hurricane Maria, a tragedy that took approximately 3,000 Americans’ lives on his watch. And he invoked it in a way that is not good (a little emphasis added):
“I think Puerto Rico was an incredible unsung success. Texas, we have been given A-pluses for. Florida, we have been given A-pluses for. I think in a certain way, the best job we did was Puerto Rico, but nobody would understand that. It’s harder to understand. It was a very hard thing to do because of the fact that they had no electric before the storm hit, it was dead, as you probably know. So we’ve gotten a lot of receptivity, a lot of thanks for what we did in Puerto Rico.”
In fact, the federal government did a piss poor job that was marred by scandal, threats of cutting relief, and a slow response that exacerbated American citizens’ suffering. When the president visited Puerto Rico weeks after the storm hit, he treated the trip like a three-point shooting contest.
This isn’t the fist time Trump has lavished praise on his “fantastic” response. But if the response to Maria is what an unsung success looks like, lord help the people in Florence’s path.
Hear it from the man himself: