President Trump is an amalgamation of some of the worst traits of previous Republican presidents rolled up into one big, orange, fleshy ball. The criminality of the Nixon. The Hollywood personality bluster of Reagan. And now we know what he shares with George W. Bush: the utter botching of a response to a natural disaster.
Bush was roundly criticized for his failure to adequately respond to the humanitarian crisis in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and now Trump has failed completely in dealing with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico.
Retired Lieutenant General Russell Honore — the man who handled the federal response to Katrina under Bush — has slammed Trump over Puerto Rico, stating that the president was underprepared for Hurricane Maria as well as Hurricane Harvey, according to Bloomberg. He adds that a simple solution would have been to deploy more personnel, equipment, and supplies to the island before the storm hit.
“It’s kind of like Katrina: We got it. We got it. Oh, sh*t, send in the cavalry. This is a hit on White House decision-making,” Honore said.
One of Trump’s biggest failings was his delayed waiving of the Jones Act, which would have allowed more aid to reach the island more quickly. The Act places a bottleneck on the inflow of supplies, by stating that only U.S.-built ships can travel between American ports without suffering a large tax. As a result of Trump’s failing, a massive amount of supplies just sat there, unable to be distributed to the millions of Americans trying to survive without potable water or electricity.
3,000 shipping containers packed with food water & medicene have been sitting at the port in Puerto Rico since Saturday pic.twitter.com/LJ0ETpmnOf
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) September 27, 2017
Worst of all, Trump himself admitted that his reluctance to waive the act was because he didn’t want to displease shipping companies who rely on the Jones Act to corner the shipping market. Once again, Trump’s initial instinct was to put business interests before the lives of innocent people. History will judge him harshly for his actions. Hurricane Maria is Trump’s Katrina.