A Reporter Was Just Accidentally Emailed Trump Team’s Plans To Spin Botched Puerto Rico Response

Trump’s terrible Puerto Rico hurricane response has officially ossified into an historic failure. Much of the island territory is still without running water, electricity, or enough food and yet Trump is already threatening to decrease aid, blaming the current problems on preexisting infrastructure problems. In order to facilitate this race-motivated betrayal, the Trump administration has to convince the public that they’ve done a great job in Puerto Rico.

To do that, they’ve had to spin a mendacious narrative, predominantly focusing on alleging “fake news” whenever a network accurately depicts the current plight of the Puerto Rican people. But, as usual, they’ve managed to bungle even their misinformation efforts

FEMA and DOD officials somehow failed to realize that they had included a Bloomberg reporter in an email list in which they sent out talking points on how best to spin their Puerto Rico narrative, reports Bloomberg. The reporter alerted them to the error, but they continued to include him in the emails for five days straight.

Bloomberg shared some of the most insightful emails, annotating them by starting with the prominent narrative in the news cycle, followed by the government’s planned response:

  • “Sept. 28: Eight days after Maria hit, coverage of the federal government’s response is getting more negative.”

    The Government Message: Pentagon officials tell staff to emphasize ‘coverage of life-saving/life-sustaining operations’ and for spokespeople to avoid language about awaiting instructions from FEMA, ‘as that goes against the teamwork top-line message.'”

  • “Sept. 29: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz criticizes Washington’s spin, calling Puerto Rico a ‘people-are-dying story.'”

    “The Government Message: FEMA talking points ignore Cruz, instructing its officials to say that ‘the federal government’s full attention is on Hurricane Maria response.'”

  • “Sept. 30: Trump attacks the mayor’s ‘poor leadership ability.’ The Pentagon worries that Trump’s ‘dialogue’ with Cruz is becoming the story, with ‘many criticizing his lack of empathy.'”

    “The Government Message: FEMA stresses its success in reaching ‘all municipalities in Puerto Rico.'”

  • “Oct. 1: Trump calls critics of the response ‘politically motivated ingrates.'”

    “The Government Message: Defense staff admit that ‘the perception of USG response continues to be negative.’ Spokespeople are told to say, ‘I am very proud of our DOD forces,’ before conceding ‘there are some challenges to work through.'”

  • “Oct. 2: The massacre in Las Vegas dominates the headlines.”

    “The Government Message: The shooting ‘has drawn mainstream TV attention away from Puerto Rico response,” FEMA says. Still, the roundup seems to have lost some of its previous optimism. It concludes, simply: ‘Negative tonality.'”






The stunning show of incompetency which allowed a member of the press to be privy to these private, embarrassing conversations for days is eclipsed only by the callousness of the content. The last bit, about using the Vegas shooting to take some heat off the administration is particularly egregious. The overall message is clear, the government knows it did a bad job in Puerto Rico, and doesn’t want us to know it.

Add your name to millions demanding Congress take action on the President’s crimes. IMPEACH TRUMP & PENCE!

Robert Haffey

Rob Haffey is a graduate of Drexel University and the winner of the ScreenCraft Fellowship.

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