Editorial

EDITORIAL: Dear Mr. President — U.S. Citizens in Puerto Rico are the True Victims

You have to give the president credit. It seems that no matter what the evidence reveals, he inevitably finds a way to spin the story so that he is the one being targeted — a solitary, innocent figure captured and trapped in the bullseye. But come on, even Donald Trump can’t really believe his “revisionist version” of what actually happened to our fellow Americans on the island of Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria unleashed her devastating fury on homes, the infrastructure, businesses and the people of the once-idyllic, tropical paradise.

Why would he seek to dispute the findings of a study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government — a report carefully compiled by a reputable institution like George Washington University released last month — which indicates that between September 2017 and February 2018, 2,975 people died? In fact, as the study shows, beyond the sheer force of the hurricane, many others died because of disease, infection, impure drinking water, lack of electricity and the inability to receive medical attention on a regular basis.

Instead, the president chooses to hang on to the unbelievable fairy tale that a mere handful of people actually died because of the hurricane — somewhere along the lines of 30 people. Nothing to be concerned about, right? Just a handful of folks? The rest, he seems to suggest — that is, the remaining thousands as cited in the study, would have died anyway, from old age, or some disease that had them in its grips well before the storm struck.

Tragically, we see our president and many of his fellow Republicans pointing fingers, rather than simply admitting that our government failed in its duty to protect its own people, that it moved with the pace of a snail in providing needed relief. Denial once again is the name of the game.
Meanwhile, the suffering continues and real recovery efforts remain stalled as Trump spins his tale that he’s being victimized by the Democrats who want to make him look bad despite his raising billions to help rebuild the country — a country that he has spoken of this way: “I love Puerto Rico.”

But if what we’ve seen thus far represents love, we hope to never see actions illustrative of the opposite.

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