Opinion: Trump's Silence

by Vraj Oza

Puerto Rico has been decimated by the worst hurricane to ever strike the island in over 90 years. Hurricane Maria in its path of destruction left the U.S. territory in “...a humanitarian crisis,” according to Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan. The Category 4 hurricane - a classification for hurricanes whose winds exceed 155 miles per hour - inundated  Puerto Rico, flattening thousands of buildings and taking apart roads. Potentially, it could even leave Puerto Rico without electricity for months, as the entire power grid has become annihilate, making generators and air conditioning unavailable. Left without cellular service, the mayor fears, “that we cannot get to everyone in time.” After days of torrential winds and powerful winds, the silence of President Donald J. Trump on the hurricane-struck island finally ended.

The combination of the lack of response from the Trump administration and the disastrous conditions within Puerto Rico led to a multitude of questions, particularly focused on the sluggish response from the government when compared to the immediate responses of the monstrous storms of Harvey and Irma. While the F.E.M.A. (Federal Emergency Management Agency), provided as much relief to the inhabitants of the hurricane struck areas as possible, the president entered into a feud with the N.F.L (National Football Association). When he finally received the time to deal with the U.S. Territory he tweeted “Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble…” referencing the massive debt accumulated by the island of over $74 billion dollars. Many, including both parties, were enraged as the President discussed financial complications rather than pledging help.

Finally, on Sept. 26th, 2017, President Trump declared that he would visit the grief stricken areas of Puerto Rico, heeding the calls of many who demanded to meet the “...fundamental obligation to Puerto Rico… to respond to a hurricane the way we would anywhere in the country,” as stated by Marco Rubio. This has become one of  Trump’s numerous test within his presidency, and as a result, he has been careful in his actions, attempting to avoid the fate that President Bush experienced in 2005. However, this reluctance of action has become failure on the side of the Trump administration. His unavailability during time of crisis, has led many to speculate factors such as cable t.v. as well as the lack of acknowledgement of Puerto Rico as a U.S. Territory regarding this absence. This failure on the Trump administration side is inexcusable; however, it is imperative to deal with the humanitarian crisis, foremost providing the necessities of food and water along with medical help to those who became victims to another monster storm within the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season.