As Hurricane Florence was bearing down on the Carolinas last week, President Trump instead focused on another hurricane.
It was a hurricane that a George Washington University study determined left nearly 3,000 people dead in its wake.
But according to Trump, the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria was an “incredible, unsung success.”
“I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful,” Trump told reporters on Sept. 11, “I actually think it was one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about.”
An incredible success? If that’s a success, we’d are very concerned about what the end result of Hurricane Florence will be.
As of Tuesday morning, Florence was responsible for at least 32 deaths in three states. Up to three feet of rain fell in the area, with damage estimates at $17 billion to $22 billion lost in economic output and property damage.
On Thursday, Trump took to Twitter to deny the GWU study, which has been accepted by Puerto Rico as the official toll. He tweeted: “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000...This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”
Then on Friday, as the remnants of Florence continued to pound the Carolinas, the president again turned his focus on Maria, further disputing the death toll:
“‘When Trump visited the island territory last October, OFFICIALS told him in a briefing 16 PEOPLE had died from Maria.’ The Washington Post. This was long AFTER the hurricane took place. Over many months it went to 64 PEOPLE. Then, like magic, ‘3000 PEOPLE KILLED’. ... They hired……GWU Research to tell them how many people had died in Puerto Rico (how would they not know this?) This method was never done with previous hurricanes because other jurisdictions know how many people were killed. FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER – NO WAY!”
These tweets came just a half hour he sent a tweet congratulating FEMA, first responders and law enforcement on the job they were doing in response to Florence. His focus should have been on the current crisis, not disputing news that had been reported two weeks prior. This shows a lack of empathy to those both in the Carolinas and to Puerto Rico.
He has yet to take to Twitter to offer sympathy to those impacted by the latest hurricane, instead tweeting Tuesday morning: “Right now, everybody is saying what a great job we are doing with Hurricane Florence – and they are 100% correct. But don’t be fooled, at some point in the near future the Democrats will start ranting... that FEMA, our Military, and our First Responders, who are all unbelievable, are a disaster and not doing a good job. This will be a total lie, but that’s what they do, and everybody knows it!”
Donald Trump has 54.5 million followers on Twitter. His account could be used to comfort those impacted by these natural disasters and show compassion. Instead, the president continues to use social media as an attack dog.