Opinion: Trump fails Puerto Rico, people in need

Drew Taylor

A few weeks ago, I published a column about the destruction Hurricane Harvey brought to the southern United States, particularly the Houston metropolitan area. My point for writing the column was to show those in power not only fail to take action and help, but there is a lack of care for those who need it most — the people without food, water or shelter after a storm hits.

It has only been about a month since then, and now we see the same fiasco on a different day.

Puerto Rico, along with many other Caribbean Islands, has been ravaged by Hurricane Maria. Yet, those in power continue to fail at showing empathy and support to those who need it.

This is not a Republican vs. Democrat thing; this is not a pro-Trump vs. anti-Trump thing.

This is a life vs. death thing — people will die due to a lack of support.

In my last column, I mentioned promoting a denial of climate change will just increase the chances of severe storms causing devastating damage and deaths.

The Caribbean Islands are the most vulnerable if such storms become more common, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This would be a fantastic time to make efforts to help combat climate change.

However, the Trump administration and Congress seem more interested in cutting taxes for the wealthy and attempting to replace the Affordable Care Act, with the latter failing to come to fruition.

The scene in Puerto Rico brings memories of the response in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Delayed response and a lack of preparation, the same way the government reacted after Katrina, is killing people in Puerto Rico.

This all happened even before President Donald Trump took to Twitter to blame the mayor of San Juan for mismanaging rescue efforts, along with blaming “fake news” for difficulties getting resources to Puerto Rico.

In a time when so many need help, pettiness is not the answer. If Trump feels offended hearing his administration is not doing well enough to save people, pretending everyone is out to get him is just going to make the critics dislike him more.

What he should do is listen to local leaders and adjust accordingly to improve efficiency in situations like this, not pretend problems don’t exist.

Now, I understand it’s easy to just throw blame at Trump. However, his inability to respond to criticism speaks volumes. It’s not the first time it has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last.

I hoped those in power would learn from their mistakes regarding Hurricane Harvey. However, I see the same problems occurring in Puerto Rico. What worries me most is what could happen the next time a major natural disaster strikes, like a hurricane, tornado or record-breaking blizzard.

Considering our history, I can assume the outcome wouldn’t be promising.

Drew Taylor is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].