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Clinton Versus Trump On Puerto Rico Disaster: A Tale Of Two Responses

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Over the weekend, the American people witnessed a stark contrast in response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico, between the person who could’ve been our next president and the man who who currently holds the office.

While President Donald Trump managed to post on Twitter over a dozen tweets this weekend and this morning demanding the firing of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem in protest to racism, he seems to have neglected the millions of now-homeless Americans in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.


In the aftermath of the island’s destruction and in the apparent absence of White House leadership, Hillary Clinton took to social media to urge a strong federal response, including from our president:

“President Trump, Sec. Mattis, and DOD should send the Navy, including the USNS Comfort, to Puerto Rico now. These are American citizens.”

Clinton’s tweet, which was later reported by CNN, includes a link to images of a flooded and mangled Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello echoed Clinton's request, calling upon the Pentagon to provide readily available resources for search-and-rescue and humanitarian needs: “We need more resources from the Department of Defense so we can get helicopters and resources [...] We know that there are capabilities in the surrounding areas, helicopters, planes and so forth [...] And our petition is for us to be able to use them

Others on social media have taken Trump to task for his non-reaction to Puerto Rico, considering how much time and attention he has devoted to the first amendment actions of professional athletes and sports teams.

In an op-ed, Joy-Ann Reid referred to Hurricane Maria as Trump’s Katrina, more than suggesting that our current president, much like President Bush in 2005, just doesn’t care:

As a dam cracked in Puerto Rico, spreading fear across an already devastated island, Donald Trump was in Alabama, calling a black former NFL player a ‘son-of-a-bitch.’”