John Oliver

Is Trump's Racism the Cause of Puerto Rico's Suffering?

The answer here is no.

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John Oliver
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A week removed from Hurricane Maria, only 41 percent of the island of Puerto Rico has potable water, 5 percent has power, and only 11 percent of cell towers are operational. Gas stations are experiencing fuel shortages and endless lines. Most schools have yet to reopen.

However difficult, the cause of all these problems is really quite simple: President Trump's racism.

"Trump's racism is costing lives," tweeted MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski on Saturday. "Trump's Puerto Rico potshots make his racism morally impossible to ignore," read the headline at Philly.com. Same for John Oliver, who called Trump's response to the hurricane "horribly racist."

For the liberal commentariat, Trump's skewering on Twitter of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz after she held a press conference criticizing the federal response is evidence enough of this president's racism.

"Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help," said Trump. "They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort."

For Oliver, this demonstrates that Trump thinks all Puerto Ricans are lazy and should be left to die.

But in the stampede to condemn Trump on the grounds of race, the liberal media have completely overlooked Cruz's actual complaint, and in doing so have given short shrift to actual causes of suffering on the island. Bureaucracy, not bigotry, is causing preventable deaths in her city.

"You are killing us with inefficiency and bureaucracy," said Cruz at that press conference that so irked Trump. To illustrate the point, the mayor held up huge binders of paperwork the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had requested in exchange for aid, saying, "You think that's enough paperwork for FEMA to get their ass moving?"

The burden of federal bureaucracy hangs over every disaster response effort. Federal aid and FEMA dispensation requires reams of documentation which, in turn, requires compliance and comparable paperwork from dozens of agencies and hundreds of labor, environmental, procurement, and anti-discrimination regulations.

As Reason has reported, the burden of regulatory compliance was an ever-present distraction after Hurricane Harvey. State officials were telling local communities after the disaster to "document, document, document." Private citizens were asked to submit pictures of their shattered homes to the state to expedite federal aid.

This also ignores the federal government's awful record as a first responder. One of the biggest issues facing Puerto Rico is its devastated highway system, which is preventing supplies and emergency responders from reaching people across the island.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has given Puerto Rico a $40 million grant for emergency road repair. The responsibility for the work rests primarily with the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works, and the island's various municipalities.

Or take FEMA, which has so far released about $20 million in public assistance. This money is primarily a form of reimbursement local government spending in response to Maria. But getting water, food, and gas to people will still be a primarily local effort, regardless of who is picking up the tab.

Whatever one thinks of the level of federal support for Puerto Rico, it is, by-and-large, not intended to bring immediate relief to storm victims, rather to help them pay the bills afterward. None of this is to say the federal response to the storm has been perfect (it hasn't) or that Trump's tweets about Cruz aren't petty and unhelpful (they are).

But to pin the cause of suffering in Puerto Rico on Donald Trump's purported racism willfully ignores the valid complaints local officials like Cruz are making about the limitations of federal disaster relief and misses much of what is actually happening on the ground there.

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66 responses to “Is Trump's Racism the Cause of Puerto Rico's Suffering?

  1. Remember Trump is incompetent too. That is just a big a factor as his racism.

    1. How do you explain the much better situations in TX and FL, not exactly lily white areas?

      1. Maria was a stronger hurricane. But mostly because Puerto Rico is an island. Archipelago to be more precise.

        1. remember “This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water.”

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    2. I’d say “Well, he beat Hillary” — but, in national campaigns, were winning percentage is awfully bad.

    3. But the President has no bearing whatsoever on this shit. What do people think he is doing? Personally ordering around supplies and deploying troops? It doesn’t matter if the president is incompetent. It only matters if the people he appointed are competent. So far, they have been.

  2. Is Trump’s Racism the Cause of Puerto Rico’s Suffering?

    Yes.

    1. His racism is so powerful, it has caused hurricanes to double in intensity, and steer themselves towards populations of brown people.

      1. And it caused union goons to refuse to deliver supplies.

        1. And destroyed an island that is roughly 75% white.

        2. you don’t suppose they were holding out for more money? there is a word for that during a crises I wonder what it is.

      2. Huh, so he really is an Opposite-Universe Obama, since the enlightened one steered hurricanes away from Brown people and who managed to keep the sea’s from rising his entire term!

        /sarc

        1. The only major natural disaster Obama had was Sandy, which destroyed the wealthiest, and very white, part of the country. Half of the homes destroyed were vacation homes.

          1. It seems that many of those who didn’t own a vacation home are still waiting.

            http://newyork.cbslocal.com/20…..t-it-back/

  3. First of all, it’s white supremacy, not racism. And secondly, although Trump is our Fuehrer, all white men are equally to blame. For everything.

  4. “Trump’s racism is costing lives,” tweeted MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski on Saturday.

    That hemorrhaging facelift has starved her brain of blood. Sad.

    Yeah, Trump only lashes out at minorities. And they can’t have it both ways. Either deregulation is the devil or regulation is.

    1. And they can’t have it both ways.

      They’ll give it a good shot, though.

  5. Poor Trumpelstiltskeins. PR was supposed to be a massive penal colony/extermination camp for brown people by now.

  6. Nothing like a good disaster to show how much people suck in general.

  7. “You are killing us with inefficiency and bureaucracy,” said Cruz at that press conference that so irked Trump. To illustrate the point, the mayor held up huge binders of paperwork the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had requested in exchange for aid, saying, “You think that’s enough paperwork for FEMA to get their ass moving?”

    An important part of the mayor’s statement has been left out of this story. I don’t see why the mayor’s most controversial statement isn’t being quoted here. She didn’t just say that FEMA was “killing us with inefficiency and bureaucracy”. She used the word “genocide”.

    https://tinyurl.com/y7wdr2cz

    —-The Guardian

    She used the word “genocide” to describe the president’s actions, and what did she expect him to do–kiss her ass instead of going on the offensive?

    1. She used the word “genocide” to describe the president’s actions, and what did she expect him to do–kiss her ass instead of going on the offensive?

      Why not? It worked for the last 40 years.

    2. “To illustrate the point, the mayor held up huge binders of paperwork the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had requested in exchange for aid…”

      On the plus side, a Democrat politician has apparently come out against over-regulation.

      1. I don’t think anyone accuses Puerto Rico of wanting to actually become a true part of the United States. Puerto Rico is like a lamprey, it’s stuck to our underbelly and gets by on our crumbs instead of making it’s own way and that is exactly how it likes things. Every so often, it will bitch about there not being enough crumbs or it’s placement on the underbelly though.

    3. I wonder how people in Puerto Rico survived before.

  8. Leftists divert attention from actual problems by shouting “racism”. Film at 11.

  9. There are numerous definitions of a progressive. My favorite has it that a progressive is someone who wants to use the coercive power of government to force individuals to make sacrifice for their idea of greater good.

    A social justice warrior might be defined as someone who insists that the only appropriate response to their bullying should be apologies and caoitulation.

    Any response to accusations of homophobia, sexism, racism, or discrimination is in appropriate if it doesn’t consist solely of apologies and is followed shortly thereafter by capitulation.

    I was genuinely concerned that when Obama went to the commemoration, he might apologize to the Japanese for Pearl Harbor.

    Is it really hard to believe that Trump responded with speech to someone that used the word “genocide” to describe his administration’s efforts in the aftermath of a hurricane?

    Only to an SJW. In their minds, he should have apologized to her for perpetrating genocide, thanked her for starting a dialogue on race, and then begged for her forgiveness.

    If he called her a shithead instead and got on with the business of FEMA management, then her their minds, I suppose they think he’s condoning genocide?

  10. Trump reacts badly to criticism is a given. That Cruz’s remarks were inflammatory, unprofessional and unhelpful ro the situation gets barely looked at.

    1. Accusing someone of racism and genocide is not “criticism”. It’s fighting words. He’s just supposed to take that?

      I didn’t vote for him and don’t usually support what he does, but the left has lost its mind on this.

      1. I’ve been saying it since the beginning of the Trump administration that the far left is going to win him a second term, assuming they don’t actually manage to impeach and convict him before then.

        I hate the guy, personally, but they’re tempting me to actually vote for him the second time around. That obviously assumes that there is no contender in the Republican primary, though. If Rand Paul runs, I’ll vote for him. Assuming, once again, that I actually get the chance to do so. =/

  11. Bureaucracy, not bigotry, is causing preventable deaths in her city.

    Or it could be bigoted bureaucracy! Huh? Have you thought of that, huh?

  12. Progressive mayor uses her own unwillingness to coordinate with FEMA and her own ineptitude as reason to blame someone else for her problems. I’ve read this book before.

    1. Me too. It was written in New Orleans.

  13. Not a Trump guy (can’t count the times I’ve said that in the last year and a half), but this is ridiculous. This administration has, to my knowledge, been more immediately responsive to this type of disaster than either of its two predecessors.

    Yes, I wish Trump would put his Twitter account on ice but he won’t, and just because he’s a major irritant doesn’t mean he’s always wrong.

    And let us all remember: Trump didn’t give us FEMA, nor the mountain of regulatory twaddle one has to wade through to get FEMA to act. Can his administration do more? I don’t know. But it would generally serve Cruz — and the people of Puerto Rico — for officials there to work with him instead of approaching with spear in hand

    1. If he didn’t tweet, the media would rip into him for being asleep at the wheel and too busy golfing to care about the people’s suffering. Remember how they treated Bush during Katrina? He can’t win with them. If he’s going to be damned, at least be damned for what he is. Tweeting also allows him to control the initiative, of course, rather than letting the MSM decide what angle they want to attack him from.

      And the mayor’s remarks are totally out of line. That shit can’t go unopposed.

  14. A week removed from Hurricane Maria, only 41 percent of the island of Puerto Rico has potable water, 5 percent has power, and only 11 percent of cell towers are operational. Gas stations are experiencing fuel shortages and endless lines

    How did people even live 100 years ago?

    1. Based on Facebook, it sounds like they lived the same boring lives that we do, minus the documentation of said boring life. That and an unfair lack of internet memes. That’s what needs to be fought for.

    2. 41% of 3 million people in a week is actually good heck there are countries with almost no service and they are crying about a few weeks.

      1. Yesterday I saw that Plaza Las Americas, the biggest mall in Puerto Rico, is now open until 5pm. Including the cinema.

  15. If Obama were facing 3 hurricanes in three very different areas of the country, the media would be ALL too willing to make the excuse that “this is unprecedented”, and a myriad of other excuses for difficulties with dealing with one of the regions.They’d be praising his efforts and set up photo-ops in all the regions.
    Trump does not get this special treatment, he is now racist.

  16. Whatever one thinks of the level of federal support for Puerto Rico, it is, by-and-large, not intended to bring immediate relief to storm victims, rather to help them pay the bills afterward. None of this is to say the federal response to the storm has been perfect (it hasn’t) or that Trump’s tweets about Cruz aren’t petty and unhelpful (they are).

    In his defense, Trump saw what happened to Bush in regards to Katrina. The Dems and the media (I know, I repeat myself) blamed Bush for all of the problems when the problems were 95% on New Orleans and Louisiana. He decided to be “above the political BS” there and it seemed to be an idiotic decision. He just became a punching bag.

    The mayor hasn’t been working with FEMA according to the mayor herself. She’s whining about the lack of supplies while standing IN FRONT OF THE FUCKING SUPPLIES. The issue is distribution — which is not a FEMA job, but a local authorities job. Trump didn’t have Puerto Rico run itself into bankruptcy over decades. Trump didn’t make the truck drivers strike.

    Quite bluntly, Cruz is the problem. Not Trump. SHE is the one who cannot manage a bowel movement properly and expects everybody to do her work for her.

    This also ignores the federal government’s awful record as a first responder

    Largely because the Feds aren’t designed to be first responders. That, again, is what the local government is for.

    1. Gillespie would rather go to a country music festival than be seen as defending Trump.

    2. “”””Largely because the Feds aren’t designed to be first responders”””

      Yep, there is no FEMA helicopters to rescue you off your rooftop, there is no FEMA emergency medial teams, there is no FEMA fire trucks. FEMA writes reports and then issues checks to pay others to do those things and due to the need to write the reports most of the checks don’t come until months later

    3. The truck drivers aren’t in strike, not officially anyway. But they are demanding commercially licensed drivers. Which at this point is a bit dense. The union is asking fellow union truck drivers to come down from the States. Why? Any able bodied guy can unload boxes and drive them to a distribution center.

    4. Fuck teamsters and their ilk. Long, and hard.

    5. The comment that Cruz made that is particularly telling is when she said of FEMA, “They had the gall this morning ? of asking me: ‘What are your priorities, mayor?'”

      It’s like she thinks they should come in and just run the whole show and tell her what to do, and decide what to prioritize. Which would be great for her, because then when they do something that isn’t perfect, she can complain about it, rather than having to take the blame for it.

  17. Step 1: Move to a tropical island.

    Step 2: Don’t plan properly for worst case possible scenarios.

    **inserts massive hurricane**

    Step 3: Blame Trump and not your own stupid ass for not planning.

    1. What makes you think that most people moved there? Puerto Rico has been losing population the past few years. And Puerto Ricans have dealt with hurricanes for centuries. This was a particularly big one, the most forceful in 70 years. Puerto Ricans were expecting FEMA help, particularly because the Jones Act makes it difficult to get any help from neighboring countries sent there by ship.


      1. Puerto Ricans were expecting FEMA help, particularly because the Jones Act makes it difficult to get any help from neighboring countries sent there by ship.

        Not defending the Jones Act, but if aid from foreign nations stops in an American port first than was it really aid to Puerto Rico that brought them across the ocean in the first place?

        1. Has to be an American built ship, staffed by American workers.

          1. Not if it’s a foreign vessel from a foreign port heading to Puerto Rico and back again. In that case, the Jones Act would appear not to apply to the situation.

      2. That’s not what the Jones Act does. The Jones Act says that you can’t send a non-US-flag, non-US-manned ship from a US port to another US port. A foreign-flagged ship can go from any non-US port directly to Puerto Rico, as long as it doesn’t go from Puerto Rico to another US port.

  18. I can’t help but note the mayor of Puerto Rico is presumably an elected political position, i.e., part of the bureaucracy the mayor of Puerto Rico is criticizing, and yet her major contribution to the recovery effort seems to be running her mouth on the twitters about what a shitty job everybody else is doing, “Ray Naginning”, I believe it’s called.

    1. San Juan, of course, not Puerto Rico. I realize Puerto Rico is its own country off there in Central America and San Juan is just one of many beautiful Sandals Resorts communities there.

  19. “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help,” said Trump. “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”

    Low and behold, nothing in this statement is racial.

    For Oliver, this demonstrates that Trump thinks all Puerto Ricans are lazy and should be left to die.

    Bc John Oliver is a smug, disingenuous, partisan hack (who I presume is projecting his own proggie racism…).

  20. if your going to go on live tv and complain about of a lack of response by the government don’t do it while standing in front of tons of supplies that need to be distributed. peiople tend to ignore you when you do that.

    BTW i’ve heard that only twelve people have died in Porta Rico since the hurricane, that is not really a number to be alarmed about.

    1. That sounds about right.

  21. “This also ignores the federal government’s awful record as a first responder.”

    The federal government isn’t a first responder, shouldn’t be, and was never envisioned as one. Anyone who expects them to act as such (or even believes it would be possible) is part of the problem.

  22. If there’s one thing John Oliver knows, it’s that colonies must be held at all costs and treated at least as well as their mainland counterparts. What, with his being British and all. Everyone knows their colonies were treated just the best.

    /sarc

    In fairness to Oliver, he must have had some problems with the way the British do things since he left for American pastures. I suspect that it was just because the BBC just didn’t think he was that funny though, rather than any real disagreement over the way the Brits do things.

  23. PR is an island, meaning 49 other states couldn’t simply send them a convoy of trucks on the highway. Any supplies fro the mainland would have to come by air or sea. The “leaders” who ran that place should have hired an army of truck drivers days before the storm hit. If they only allow licensed truck drivers to carry supplies, well, nothing more needs to be said.

    1 in 4 Puerto Ricans are on food stamps and their government is pleading the feds to allow fast food restaurants to accept them. Isn’t that just insane – a quarter of the population don’t have enough money to stock up on water and non perishable food to last them a month.

    This 4 eye mayor almost certainly had no plans on how to distribute any materials to her people. She probably couldn’t tell FEMA which roads are open and safe. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was revealed her city failed to father enough emergency supplies on THEIR end. But you know she says nasty things about Trump and the media is desperate for this to be Trump’s Katrina.

  24. This hurricane is a get out jail free card for the socialists in Puerto Rico. Despite the bitching, they’ll receive a ton of aid which will be used to repair their neglected infrastructure and the current problems will be a fig leaf for the mistakes of the pass.

    Call me cynical, but I suspect the defilers of Puerto Rico would have had smiles on their faces as the storm raged and raged.

  25. , 5 percent has power, 5 percent has power, and only 11 percent of cell towers are operational. Gas stations are experiencing fuel shortages and endless lines. Most schools have yet to reopen.Gas stations are experiencing fuel shortages and endless lines

    But just think how much PR’s carbon footprint has gone down! Progs should be delighted.

  26. In Britain, John Oliver is what is known as a “twit”. Wanker might also apply.

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