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Trump’s Twitter silence about Puerto Rico’s devastation is deafening
He did tweet about sports over a dozen times this weekend, though.
It has been five days since Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico. Thirteen people have died. All of the island nation is without power and may remain so for up to six months. Around 70,000 people living in the Guajatacata River’s floodplain have been forced to evacuate their homes. According to Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez, the destruction will set the country back “nearly 20 to 30 years.”
So, where is President Donald Trump?
Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, meaning its 3.4 million people are citizens of the United States. While the Pentagon said it has dispatched members of Army Corps engineers—4,000 Army Reserve members have been also deployed to the country, along with 1,600 Nation Guard members, according to FEMA—Trump hasn’t said much about Puerto Rico since the hurricane first hit on Wednesday. He instead spent his weekend tweeting over a dozen times about sports figures and kneeling for the flag, interspersed with threats to North Korea and insults to senators who don’t want to repeal Obamacare.
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Many are calling out Trump—who expressed concern for the victims of recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida but who, in general, has not shown much respect for people of color—for his silence. One detractor, in particular, was Hillary Clinton.
President Trump, Sec. Mattis, and DOD should send the Navy, including the USNS Comfort, to Puerto Rico now. These are American citizens. https://t.co/J2FVg4II0n— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 24, 2017
Also, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
And actors like Mark Ruffalo.
No matter what crazy stuff Trump is up to now let's keep in mind Puerto Rico really needs our attention and help. pic.twitter.com/SAPwMvx2KE— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) September 24, 2017
And then there were the reporters and citizens waiting for a response—but who also weren’t too surprised that hadn’t been one over the weekend.
Presidential tweets so far this weekend about football & race: 6— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) September 24, 2017
Health care bill: 6 (4 mention McCain)
Nuclear war: 2
Puerto Rico crisis: 0
Trump tweets this weekend about NFL/NBA/NHL: 10— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 25, 2017
Trump tweets this weekend about Puerto Rico: 0
Yesterday, Trump tweeted 10 TIMES about the NFL.— Holly O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) September 24, 2017
NO times about Puerto Rico.
3.5M AMERICANS have no power.
Some are still on their roofs. https://t.co/vePdxt3nHb
What do millions of people facing disaster in Puerto Rico need to do to get Pres. Trump's attention: take a knee?— Paul Begala (@PaulBegala) September 24, 2017
Trump's racist neglect of Puerto Rico is threatening lives. It is time to start caring about the crisis there.— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) September 25, 2017
I don't think Donald Trump knows Puerto Rico is part of the United States— eve peyser (@evepeyser) September 24, 2017
A White House official told CNN on Friday that Trump “is committed to going, but date is still unclear,” adding, “as you note, there are significant infrastructure concerns.”
Jessica Machado is the IRL editor of the Daily Dot. Previously, she was an associate editor at Rolling Stone. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Elle, Vice, Salon, BuzzFeed, Guernica, Bitch, Bust, the Cut, the Awl, the Toast, among others.