What is happening in Puerto Rico, and much of the Caribbean, is absolutely horrible to behold, I cannot imagine what it must be like to be living in the midst of it. So many people, so many men, women and children with no place to go, no food, no water, nothing. Yet many on the left seem to think it an appropriate time to play politics and use this time of tribulation for so many as a platform and opportunity to disparage the President.
The left and many in the media are shamelessly touting the catch phrase and headline “Trump’s Katrina”, for their own gain, whether it be political points or ratings. We will not get into the facts regarding Katrina today and the blame game played against Bush as that was previously discussed in an August 30, 2017 post (https://dcoutsider.org/a-few-things-you-should-know-about-hurricanes/). Trump is not God and does not control the weather, Puerto Rico’s economy was in ruin long before Donald Trump became President and PREPA (Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority) was antiquated and in deep financial trouble many years ago.
“Prepa got into severe financial trouble before the rest of the Puerto Rican government, when it was unable to pay for fuel in 2014. Its creditors extended fuel-purchasing credit that year, and subsequently negotiated a deal to restructure about $5.7 billion of Prepa’s $9 billion in total debt.
Prepa’s antiquated generating plants burn imported oil to produce electricity. Efforts to modernize the plants and shift to clean and renewable fuels have been delayed repeatedly. Customers pay rates that follow oil prices up and down, and while the rates are relatively low at the moment, they are vulnerable to rising again.
In addition, there are longstanding accusations that Prepa’s fuel-purchasing office for many years bought dirty oil sludge as fuel, charged consumers the much higher price of cleaner distillates, and then created a slush fund with the difference. The Puerto Rican senate held a series of hearings on Prepa’s fuel-purchasing irregularities, and has referred its findings to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” (
As has been noted by the White House, that Puerto Rico is an island creates additional logistics issues in getting aid to the people since everything must be transported via airplane or ship. To further complicate the matter, the military had to reopen airfields capable of handling cargo jets and Puerto Rico’s ports were too damaged to accommodate the needed number of large vessels. It has also been noted that it can take as long as five days to sail to Puerto Rico from the mainland ports causing delays in the arrival of supplies and aid that are the difference between life and death for so many. The lack of infrastructure left on the island offers even more difficulty in dispersing supplies once they have arrived.
According to an interview given by former Navy Captain Jerry Hendrix, “Amphibious ships, including the light amphibious carriers Kearsarge and Wasp and the amphibious landing ship dock Oak Hill were at sea and dispatched to Puerto Rico ahead of the hurricane’s impact.” From these ships, large landing craft can be dispatched to shore carrying over 150 tons of water, food and other supplies in a single trip, they are also equipped with hospitals capable of providing medical care on a large-scale. According to FEMA they have provided more than 4 million meals, 6 million liters of water, and there are more than 10,000 federal workers on the ground in Puerto Rico. In addition, the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship, along with ten more military vessels, have either recently arrived or are en route to the island.
No, Trump has not the visited the island yet, and you know what, I bet the people in Puerto Rico appreciate that, those that know the implications of having a President visit. There are about ten members of the House and Senate that have been trying to visit Puerto Rico on military flights, kudos to the Trump administration for not allowing it. What possible good could come from visits by dignitaries at this juncture? Is it not more important to get life saving supplies and aid to the people than for elected officials from the mainland to make an appearance? Each and every one of those attempting to go to Puerto Rico, and those complaining about the President not having made a trip are well aware of the chaos created by such visits. I remember Obama’s visit to the Gulf Coast after the Deep Water Horizon disaster; the visit served no useful purpose, but it did come at a cost to residents both in inconvenience and lost wages due to road and bridge closings done to accommodate him. The traffic nightmare created when, after publicizing the window of time during which roads and bridges would be closed for Obama’s visit, and residents adjusted their schedules in order to cross roads and bridges before they were closed in order to get to work or school, they, without warning, closed them earlier causing hundreds to be turned around and miss at a minimum a half day of work because they had no way to get there. The people of Puerto Rico do not need the President to come take a tour, they need food and water to stay alive.
The backlash over a tweet regarding the kneeling at NFL games. While there may be some issue to be had with his choice of words, I fully support the sentiment expressed by President Trump, and hardly believe the couple of seconds it took him to send that tweet had any impact whatsoever on the aid and recovery efforts to Puerto Rico, or any other issue on the table for that matter.
People are stuck, many have gone days with no food or water, people are dying; so please, stop playing your petty political games and either do something useful or shut up.