No matter which party you're in, when you're the president, you're going to be
dealing with natural disasters. It's one of the few occasions that transcends
politics, but not anymore.
In the last two years, there have been 27 natural disasters in the United States,
each costing more than a billion dollars in damage.
Last September, Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico were all hit with
devastating category 4 hurricanes. And this year has seen the deadliest and
most destructive wildfires in U.S. history along with several record-breaking hurricanes.
But the president's response to these have been inconsistent, to say the least.
Trump seems to favor states where Republicans are in charge. Trump went to Texas twice in the
first eight days after Harvey, and after Irma he traveled to Florida within four
days. How long after Maria hit did it take him to go to Puerto Rico? Thirteen
days. This year Trump made it to Florida and North Carolina within a week, but it
took him nine days to plan a trip to California. His public comments followed
the same pattern.
You have a great governor of Florida. The job that Rick has done is being talked about all over.
You have a great, great governor.
The job you've done has been incredible.
But when he talks about places where Democrats are in charge, well see if you can hear a difference:
Now, I hate to tell you Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of wack
because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico.
We're tired of giving California hundreds and hundreds of millions of
dollars all the time for their forest fires, when you wouldn't have them if
they manage their forest properly. That's -- oh California, get on the ball 'cause we're
not gonna hand you any more money. It's ridiculous, okay?
And there's the federal response. The government deployed 20,000 more workers
to assist in Texas than it did in Puerto Rico. It also awarded about
$4 million more for housing assistance.
His preferences become especially clear on Twitter, where he
denigrated Puerto Rico for its infrastructure and debt crisis less than
a week after the hurricane made landfall, before even visiting the island. He made
similarly critical statements within a week of the 2018 California wildfire
outbreak, but Florida, Texas, and Georgia he's had nothing but praise for them.
Even a year later, Trump is still tweeting about Maria, working to
undermine the widely accepted death toll and insulting the politicians. It seems
not even natural disasters can rise above politics in today's climate.