Empathy is lacking in Trump’s Puerto Rico Tweets

Americans in Puerto Rico are facing a humanitarian crisis. After the devastating Hurricane Maria battered the U.S. commonwealth, the vast majority of Puerto Ricans were left without power, water, means of communication and even homes. Despite the unprecedented damage done to the island, President Donald Trump’s immediate response to the hurricane lacked the sort of empathy one would hope a president would exhibit to his disaster-stricken citizens.

In the first few days following Hurricane Maria, Trump doled out a paltry five tweets regarding Puerto Rico – only five tweets to sum up what Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Roselló called “the worst storm of the last century.”

“Texas and Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt is in deep trouble. Its old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, much be dealt with. Food, water, and medical are top priorities- and doing well. #FEMA” Trump’s tweets read Tuesday.

Although the point of his callous tweets is slightly confusing, one disturbing theme is apparent: Trump seems to believe while Hurricane Maria, was bad Puerto Ricans should not be allowed to forget, even in this incredibly catastrophic and trying time, that their island is in debt.

Trump’s tweets can only be compared to kicking someone when they’re down — so terribly down, in fact, the Puerto Rican Electrical Power Authority estimates the island might not have power restored for another four months.

It is appalling to see how little the president cares about people in crisis, especially since Puerto Rico is a part of this country. The relief efforts should mirror those sent for Harvey, Irma, Sandy and Katrina. We as a nation are responsible for what happens to the people of Puerto Rico because they are our people.

How sickening is it to belong to a nation whose president reminds 3.4 million people in the midst of catastrophe of yet another tremendous burden they must bear, instead of mourning the destruction of their homes and the uprooting of their lives?

Pending a formally proposed emergency bill to aid the people of Puerto Rico—the people of the U.S. — civilians should pick up the torch and donate money, supplies and time to relief funds which recognize the value of Puerto Ricans’ lives and hope to alleviate their suffering.