The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

The handling of Hurricane Maria is subpar

April 4, 2019

Graphic by Kaitlyn Biri

Graphic by Kaitlyn Biri

In September of 2017, Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

The hurricane was the third costliest Atlantic hurricane, right behind Harvey and Katrina.

Recently, President Trump has gone on a Twitter rant about the aid sent to Puerto Rico. While I will be criticizing the president for these tweets, this is not an anti-Trump rant.

There are no partisan leanings in the following rant.

I am a victim of Hurricane Katrina, and every harsh word comes from a place of deep trauma and empathy for those going through the same issues. I would be going just as hard on Obama if these were his words.

First, President Trump has claimed that the U.S. has sent $91 billion in aid to Puerto Rico.

That figure is egregiously false.

The Washington Post estimates that only $11.2 billion has been given in aid to the country. The $91 billion number probably comes from the estimated $95 billion it would take to heal Puerto Rico from the hurricane fully.

I will give Trump the benefit of the doubt and say he mixed up his numbers.

Besides the false number, the tweet, posted on Tuesday, has a very horrific tone to it.

“The pols are grossly incompetent, spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from USA…” Trump said.

Puerto Rico is part of the U.S. Thinking or saying anything else is wrong and sets a dangerous precedent.

Every person born in Puerto Rico is an American citizen. The aid we send to them is as important as the aid we send to any of the states in the U.S.

Let us go back 14 years; it was a different time.

President Bush was the head of our nation, and Twitter was not the source of hundreds of banal news stories.

Bush was on vacation during the events of Katrina. He stayed on that vacation for a while, only cutting it a few days shortly after his aids showed him pictures of how devastated the Gulf Coast was by Katrina.

While flying back from his vacation, he had Air Force One fly over the region. The pictures of this flyover were touted as a representation of how distant Bush was from these issues.

I personally remember how worthless my family and I felt after these events.

The tweets Trump posted on the devastation of Hurricane Maria and his paper towel incident is the exact same.

Now, reader, you can support Trump and vote for him again.

I am not here to convince you otherwise. Though, one does not have to support everything a president does, even if they vote for them.

Puerto Ricans are Americans, pure and simple.

We should have learned from Katrina. Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria should anger every American and especially anger those that live in areas that have been ravaged by hurricanes.

We cannot ignore them, much like we cannot overlook any American going through natural disasters in the contiguous 48 states.

Support Trump all you want, but do not sit there and support his awful handling of this natural disaster.

Our voices mean something, and if you are in Trump’s base, your voice may hold more impact. Stand up for your fellow citizens, because it takes one hurricane for us to be in their place.

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