A week ago, the death toll for Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria rose to at least 4,645, but in a meeting on hurricane preparedness, President Trump didn’t mention the victims once. He was busy praising his cabinet and making up stories about his own greatness.
The Washington Post got audio of President Trump’s closed door FEMA hurricane briefing, during which instead of focusing on the estimated thousands who have died and the ongoing issues, the Republican President talked about the popularity of his cabinet, the Republican tax cut, the midterm polls, and helping the power company out of bankruptcy.
Trump mentioned Puerto Rico once, in passing, while the cameras were rolling.
Josh Dawsey wrote that the meeting was supposed to be about hurricane preparedness, “But President Trump had a lot else on his mind, turning the closed-door discussion into soliloquies on his prowess in negotiating airplane deals, his popularity, the effectiveness of his political endorsements, the Republican Party’s fortunes, the vagaries of Defense Department purchasing guidelines, his dislike of magnetized launch equipment on aircraft carriers, his unending love of coal and his breezy optimism about his planned Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.”
“The president’s 40-minute briefing session behind closed-doors came after he spoke to cameras for about 15 minutes. He briefly referred to Puerto Rico — where authorities now say thousands died as a result of last year’s hurricane. The Trump administration was roundly criticized for its performance, and hundreds of thousands in the U.S. territory remain without electricity.”
Dawsey wrote the President “did not mention Puerto Rico’s victims but thanked Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) for helping and noted that the power company was ‘in bankruptcy prior to the hurricane.'”
The Post’s Christopher Ingraham pointed out how amazing this omission was, “This is really amazing considering the Puerto Rico hurricane fatality figures were revised upward into the thousands just last week. He mentioned the island once, in passing, while the cameras were rolling.”
This is really amazing considering the Puerto Rico hurricane fatality figures were revised upward into the thousands just last week. He mentioned the island once, in passing, while the cameras were rolling. https://t.co/9o7e6cNmXG
— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) June 7, 2018
Although Trump was not all praise for his cabinet, as Reuters pointed out that Trump praised everyone in his cabinet except AG Jeff Sessions. He started the meeting by praising first lady Melania, then went around acknowledging each of his cabinet members. When he got to Sessions, all he said was, “Thank you, Jeff, thank you very much.”
What we are witnessing is a President so devoid of a conscience that he can’t even put on a decent show of pretending to care about the deaths of thousands of people, many of which his administration is being held accountable for due to their poor response to the crisis.
We saw this nakedly, grotesquely self-involved and entitled side of Trump when he had to use notes to sound like he cared when talking to the survivors of the Parkland school shooting. But here it is again. Not a care for the victims of Puerto Rico.
This event went full Trump when the President told an unsubstantiated and at best greatly exaggerated story about himself being a great deal-maker, claiming to have saved “$1.6 billion on Air Force One.”
“Military officials have not been able to explain where Trump got such a figure. A Defense Department official told Bloomberg News this year that the department had no information to back up that claim,” the Post noted.
While military officials could not explain this, even when the Air Force Secretary tried to ensure Trump got credit for it, the “it” was corrected.
The savings are a few million, not billion. Bloomberg again, “The White House announced last month that Trump had managed to save $1.4 billion by getting the cost for the fixed-price contract down to $3.9 billion. Public estimates suggest the savings will be far less — perhaps a few hundred million dollars.”
Trump used an event about hurricane preparations to self-aggrandize about his non-existent deal-making skills, take a shot at Jeff Sessions, praise his wife whom he had just spread tabloid gossip about, and ignore the thousands of victims of Hurricane Maria.
Ms. Jones is the EIC of PoliticusUSA and a Huffington Post contributor.
She has covered President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton, VP Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Gloria Steinem and Senators Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders and interviewed then House Democratic Leader now Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including regular appearances on The Ann Walker Show With Scott Nevins for UBN Radio and KPTR 1450’s California Woman 411, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, The Richard Dawkins Foundation and more.