Some time ago, I wrote about how most voters agree that Donald Trump is awful at handling national tragedies, as any narcissist would be because they can only think of catastrophes in terms of how it affects them. When Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, it was unclear if Trump was even aware that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.
After completely botching the civilian response, he embarrassed himself on YouTube with a video where he handed out paper towels to a crowd. The result was the worst disaster to hit the island in recorded history, one that it still has yet to fully recover from. Now, as Tropical Storm Dorian draws closer to the island with full potency, Trump is exactly where you’d expect him to be – tweeting excuses about the delayed aid to the island for Hurricane Maria, two years later.
Because Trump delayed the funding for the island’s recovery, the poor cleanup has significantly increased the risk of damage and flooding. Of course, Trump must blame everyone from the local government on the island to House Democrats for the damage rather than actually taking responsibility. On Tuesday he tweeted: “Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end? Congress approved 92 Billion Dollars for Puerto Rico last year, an all time record of its kind for ‘anywhere.'”
Rather than acting prepared for an emergency, Trump seems to be in a state of disbelief that hurricanes occur in the late summer season, acting as if the people of Puerto Rico are responsible for it. The $92 billion figure is far from accurate. Congress only approved $43 billion, with Puerto Rico only receiving about $14 billion so far. Instead of leading, Trump is trying to rationalize his own inaction. It’s not just about his disdain for the people who live there, but his administration’s refusal to admit climate change is a serious problem that will only result in more tragedies like Maria. In just one tweet, Donald Trump’s ignorance shows the real and very dangerous consequences of bigotry and ignorance of basic science.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making