When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, President Trump approved a major disaster declaration a day faster than Biden did for the island after Hurricane Fiona hit. Trump’s alacrity went unrewarded when local Democrats and the media blamed him for the hurricane.
CNN, which has been much slower to provide coverage of Fiona on the island, flew Anderson Cooper out there to wade uncomfortably around and do interviews with leftist politicians wearing custom-printed, “Help Us, We Are Dying” t-shirts in between posing for glamor shots.
Instead, Cooper is currently promoting a podcast with leftist hack Stephen Colbert.
The dramatic difference in coverage can be summed up with two Reuters headlines, five years apart, “Puerto Ricans say Trump’s disaster response was too slow” and “Puerto Rico power grid no match for Fiona; residents unsurprised.”
The New York Times went even further blaming President Trump for Puerto Rico’s power grid going down in 2022. According to the leftist paper, the number one reason that the island’s power is down is because “the Trump administration also placed restrictions on portions of the island’s aid out of concerns that the money would be mismanaged or squandered.”
There was indeed massive fraud with multiple officials, including Julia Keleher, the former Secretary of Education for Puerto Rico, the head of Puerto Rico’s Association of Certified Public Accountants, and multiple FEMA officials, getting busted.
Among those arrested was Ahsha Nateef Tribble: Obama’s Senior Director for Response and an interim Deputy Homeland Security Advisor. Obama’s girl pled guilty this May, but the media has not seen fit to cover the minor matter of an Obama NSC official going down or to mention it in relation to the latest disaster in Puerto Rico: this time taking place on Biden’s watch.
Instead, Biden is being praised for lifting anti-corruption restrictions while promising to pour more money into Puerto Rico. The influx of money will only further feed the corruption without actually benefiting ordinary people. There’s plenty of history that makes that all too clear.
Every time there’s a major storm, Puerto Rico’s power grid goes down. That’s been the case long before Trump’s presidential run. Even without storms, the LA Times reported that under Obama, island residents “were suffering power outages at rates four to five times higher than average U.S. customers”. Puerto Rico’s electric grid is ancient, its public utility was broken and its linemen had moved to America. Also the island is notorious for its culture of corruption.
Somehow that became Trump’s fault. And in 2022, it is still somehow his fault.
After trying to blame Trump for restricting funds to fight corruption, the New York Times is forced to admit that the island government isn’t spending the money that it has. Bloomberg notes that, “Of the $21 billion that FEMA has designated for public assistance projects overall in Puerto Rico, only 2% has been spent.” Much as during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria when aid was left sitting in warehouses, what Puerto Rico has isn’t even being used by the local government.
But when the media isn’t blaming Trump, it’s blaming global warming or privatization. Even though it was the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA):, the bankrupt public utility whose defunct equipment, missing employees and general dysfunction had led to the original massive outrage during Hurricane Maria, resulting in overdue privatization.
The one man the media isn’t blaming is Joe Biden. Much as the media didn’t blame Bill Clinton or Obama for the hurricanes that happened on their watch or the resulting consequences. When a hurricane hits Puerto Rico while a Republican is in office, it’s his fault. But when a hurricane hits during a Democrat’s term, then it’s obviously due to either climate change or a Republican.
Even though Biden took a day longer than Trump to approve disaster relief, media coverage has emphasized how much he cares about Puerto Rico. After Maria, the media claimed, with no evidence, that Trump was bigoted toward Puerto Ricans and that his neglect was killing them.
After earthquakes in 2020, the media doubled down on the narrative with CNN headlining its coverage, “Trump stays publicly silent on Puerto Rican earthquakes but has signed emergency declaration”. Democrats rushed to capitalize on the disaster, including Joe Biden who stated, “It’s unconscionable that so much of the hard work of disaster recovery continues to be left undone. We’ve got to deliver concrete support for Puerto Rico now before more lives are lost.”
Now that Biden is in office, the work remains undone. But somehow it’s not his fault.
At a press conference, Biden promised, “We’ll do everything, everything we can to meet the urgent needs you have and we know they’re real and they’re significant. And we’re there. And I know, bad joke, ‘I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help.’ But we really are.”
The federal government has been coming to Puerto Rico to help for generations. It hasn’t helped. After tens of billions of dollars in aid, the island is no better off than it was before.
In 2017, it was asking for $94 billion in aid. That’s all the more startling when you consider that Puerto Rico’s current population is only a little over 3 million. That would have been over $30,000 per person. Even the billions allocated to it come out to about $7,000 per person.
Not that the average Puerto Rican will ever see any of that money.
Instead of telling the truth about that, Puerto Rico’s current state is always Trump’s fault. And will remain his fault until another Republican sets foot in the Oval Office and pulls up a chair.
Much like the inner cities, it’s easier to throw around accusations of bigotry than to reckon with what is actually wrong. And that’s convenient because Democrats profit financially and politically from Puerto Rico’s disasters. The worse things get on the island, the better the odds of winning Florida. Feeding corruption just makes things worse for Puerto Ricans and better for Dems.
Puerto Rico’s real problem isn’t Hurricane Maria or Hurricane Fiona, it’s Hurricane Biden.