Puerto Rico Needs Help, Not Tweets from a Narcissist

A mayor from United States’ territories should not have to beg for aid from the president and the government, but San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz had to do just that in the face of a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico after a catastrophic hurricane decimated the small island on Sept. 20th, with very little in the way of a recovery effort to relieve the island.

“I am begging you. Begging anyone that can hear us to save us from dying,” Cruz pled during a press conference on Friday. “If anybody is out there listening, we are dying. And you are killing us with the inefficiency.”

Has Trump responded to such dire requests? Have the pleas from Cruz gone unanswered, or is the administration up to task with helping American citizens-because yes, they are-to recover from a devastating hurricane that has destroyed power grids in the region, decimated homes, and shuttered hospitals because of the damage?

What we have seen from the administration is blatant lies upon lies. From Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke calling relief efforts in Puerto Rico a “Good News Story” to Donald Trump going on a rampage of tweets vilifying the San Juan mayor, voicing doubt that the country’s debt burden would interfere with relief efforts to this: “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are ot able to get their workers to help. They … ” “… want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”

The Trump administration has used this rhetoric to stereotype Spanish speaking people since the beginning of his campaign. Hashing racist ideology that communities of color are lazy, asking for handouts, or demanding things be done for them; they, the other, are leeching off a system that should only benefit Americans (except for the fact that they are Americans). It’s an unacceptable rhetoric to be able to demonize people because they are not equally working just as hard in recovery efforts even though they are the victims of the hurricane disaster. Yes, help should be given to them, unequivocally, without anything asked of them in return.

This is Trump pandering to his base: white supremacists who only got a mild scolding whilst carrying torches to preserve their racist history, who were called good people even as they carried swastikas alongside the Confederate flag and killed a woman brave enough to stand against their bigotry.

This is Trump attacking people who are critical of him, labeling them as other and as others they are bad. He is separating himself and his base from the others, dividing an already perilously partisan country. Puerto Rico needs help, it needs resources and funds from the government to help begin rebuilding, and not a slipshod excuse for a relief effort enmeshed in racially charged language.

Trump and his administration claim that relief efforts are well underway. That is simply not the case. Citizens of Puerto Rico, along with the mayor, have criticized the president by delaying reconstruction and rescue efforts, and failing to successfully meet the needs of the island’s inhabitants.

Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz may have borne the brunt of Trump’s lambasting, but she is far from backing down from the fight to secure the safety of her citizens. Trump will once spend his weekend away from the White House, golfing, and Cruz continues to be at the forefront of the relief efforts, working to make sure that citizens of San Juan are safe and secure. She is the woman at the forefront of the struggle for resources, demonstrating what good leadership is. Trump’s response to Puerto Rico will become his legacy, on top of the racist, sexist, xenophobic and divisive policies that will mark his first nine months of office. Today one only needs to look to women to see what true leadership is like.

To help the citizens of Puerto Rico, consider donating or volunteering your time to these organizations: Time.com

Mayor Cruz wades through flooded streets looking for residents in need

Bustle also has a list of organizations that are working to help women impacted by Hurricane Maria as well.

(Photo Credit 1: Washington Post/Thais Llorca/European Pressphoto Agency-EFE) (Photo Credit 2: Inverse)