One week after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump finally mentioned it in a tweet last night. But after seeing his overwhelming response to the people of Houston, Texas and south Florida, there has been a significant discrepancy in amount of attention Trump has given to the small American island and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
CNN host Chris Cuomo began Tuesdays episode of “New Day” by commenting that Trump seems to be blaming Puerto Rico’s “trouble” on financial problems and infrastructure — and not on the fact that they were hit by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria within a few weeks of each other.
“You have to remember, 3.5 million Americans are on that island,” Cuomo noted. “They don’t have power. The situation is getting worse. Food, water, fuel, all are in very spare quantities. So, despite a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, Trump has saved his greatest urgency for NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem.”
A panel discussion quickly followed, with Cuomo noting that FEMA is on the ground on the island. But the support from the top seems to be different.
“As bizarre as it is that the president is dealing with athletes while at the same time we’re dealing with Puerto Rico, we’ve got to start with the urgency,” said Cuomo before introducing the morning political panel. “These are Americans there. They don’t have the infrastructure. It’s true. It’s a fragile Caribbean place. Does it seem unusual to you that the president of the United States, he jumped on Harvey. [CNN co-host] Alisyn [Camerota] was down showing how the federal government wanted to put their arms around it. We saw what happened with Irma. Why the difference here?”
Political analyst Chris Cillizza sarcastically wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that both Texas and Florida went for Trump in the 2016 election while Puerto Rico did not.
“Look, the problem is that Texas, Florida not only contiguous United States, but states that voted for Donald Trump,” he said. “There’s nothing been like Puerto Rico to the same degree. Partly because, unfortunately, these folks are not Trump supporters and they are not top of mind.”
“The president gave a speech to the UN talking about sovereignty,” noted Daily Beast editor John Avlon. “These are Americans on that island. They are without power for almost a week. Combined damage total may be more than Harvey and Irma combined. Everybody is concerned but the president is tweeting more about NFL and Hillary Clinton than he is about the island and when he is, he seems to be dissing the infrastructure. Is Maria Donald Trump’s Katrina?”
Cillizza went on to explain that the president’s Twitter account shows people exactly who he is: What he tweets about is what he cares about.
Watch the full discussion below: