It’s not surprising that the media is using this latest hurricane to smear the Trump administration. When Harvey and Irma hit, the press was unsuccessful in crafting a narrative that would stick. For this reason, they decided to focus on Trump’s tweets, his supposed “empathy deficit,” and his pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Now, with Puerto Rico facing the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, they are resurrecting President George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina, comparing the current disaster to the storm that claimed so many lives in 2005. Here are some of the headlines:
- The Boston Globe: Will Puerto Rico be Trump’s Katrina moment?
- Vanity Fair: Is the Crisis in Puerto Rico Becoming Trump’s Katrina?
- NBC News: For Some, Delayed Response to Puerto Rico Has Echoes of Katrina
- Rolling Stone: How Puerto Rico Is Becoming Trump’s Katrina
So how are they attempting to portray Hurricane Maria as Trump’s Katrina? By claiming that the administration’s response was delayed and accusing the president of allowing his feud with the NFL to distract him from the disaster. They also brought back the “empathy deficit” argument as well.
The Vanity Fair piece mentioned admitted that the Trump administration responded quickly to the storm, but they could not resist the temptation to bring up the president’s conflict with the NFL:
“While Trump quickly approved a declaration of a state of emergency for Puerto Rico, authorizing federal funds and resources for the island, critics have slammed the president for not doing more—and for his continued obsession with the National Football League while millions of Americans are in desperate need of help.”
Rolling Stone also decided that Trump’s tweets were more important than the efforts of the federal government to provide aid for Puerto Rico, “Instead of attending to this natural disaster, Trump spent the weekend on vacation at his golf club in New Jersey, alternately stirring a culture war on Twitter.”
And Of Course CNN…
CNN also joined in on the criticism, citing the president’s tweets about the amount of money Puerto Rico owes to Wall Street:
“The island may be without power for months. The devastation there has been described as ‘apocalyptic’ — and Trump is concerned about what the territory owes to Wall Street and the banks? The lack of empathy is staggering.”
Admittedly, the president’s reference to Puerto Rico’s debt while they are dealing with a catastrophic storm is both inappropriate and tone deaf, but it does not take away from the fact that he acted quickly to help the Americans affected by the hurricane. It certainly does not mean this current disaster has anything to do with Katrina.
The left-wing media has argued that Trump’s tweeting is distracting him from providing aid for the Americans affected by the storm. Here’s a mind-blowing fact for the left: It takes less than ten seconds to send a tweet. The idea that his tweeting habit is taking him away from his presidential duties is a weak argument – but as with Hurricanes Irma and Harvey – the media has been forced to grasp at straws.
Secondly, the facts show that Trump has responded to this tragedy in the same way that he responded to Harvey and Irma. Shortly after the hurricane made landfall, FEMA was on the ground mobilizing to provide aid along with hundreds of volunteers. Over 10,000 troops were sent to distribute food and repair Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. The government also waived the Jones Act to allow more food and supplies to reach the island.
Ricardo Rossello, the governor of Puerto Rico has praised the Trump administration for their response. In an interview with PBS News Hour he said:
“First of all, we are very grateful for the administration. They have responded quickly.
The president has been very attentive to the situation, personally calling me several times. FEMA and the FEMA director have been here in Puerto Rico twice. As a matter of fact, they were here with us today, making sure that all the resources in FEMA were working in conjunction with the central government.”
In a remote appearance on “The View,” Governor Rossello said that the government is doing a “great job.” He also reiterated the fact that the president had been in contact with him on a regular basis. He repeated his words of gratitude for the president’s response.
What’s the Angle?
So why did the left-wing media wait until now to bring up Hurricane Katrina? Nobody can know for sure, but there is a conspicuous difference between Maria and the other hurricanes – and there could be something more at play in the media’s efforts to turn this disaster into “Trump’s Katrina.”
What makes Hurricane Maria different from the storms that hit Texas and Florida? That’s right. This particular storm struck in an area that is mostly inhabited by minorities. The media is weaving a creative tale about a president who came to the aid of whites in Texas and Florida while giving a halfhearted effort to brown people in Puerto Rico. They are hoping for a “Bush doesn’t care about black people” moment – except now it’s Trump and Puerto Ricans.
Consider the fact that they are already using Trump’s comments about athletes who kneel for the national anthem to paint him as a racist – even though he clearly has an “equal opportunity” policy when it comes to those he chooses to criticize. Everyone knows that Trump will lambast anyone, regardless of race, color, or creed.
If the press can paint Trump as incompetent in giving Puerto Rico the help they need after doing an effective job for Texas and Florida, they will argue that he cares only about white victims of natural disasters. It would be a clever strategy if we hadn’t already seen it over and over again.
Their previous attempts to smear the president’s response to the hurricanes have failed, but the left seems to hope that the third time’s the charm. Fortunately, if recent history is any indication, this new effort will be just as ineffective as the others.