Nine days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the territory is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. Nearly half the population lacks drinking water; nearly everyone has no power. There are 3.5 million American citizens on the island, but the Trump administration has thus far treated the situation there as a problem to get around to whenever it gets around to it.
On Thursday the Trump administration promised to send thousands of relief workers and National Guard troops to assist. But it’s clear that the administration was caught unprepared, that its response has been lackluster, and that so much more could have been done. The consequences of that inaction are devastating.
The Trump White House has tried to stay on top of this budding scandal by making two basically contradictory arguments. The first is that conditions are so bad that they can’t be blamed for not doing much. The second is that, even though things are clearly terrible and not getting much better, the administration is actually doing a great job. Trump did just that on Friday morning:
As usual with this administration, there’s a jumpy and insecure need to constantly tell people that everything is fine, while it’s clear that everything behind the scenes is burning. This is a Katrina in slow-motion, and the Trump administration is only just catching on to how bad things are.