Sunday, October 01, 2017


The right has declared war -- not against ISIS or Kim Jong Un, but against a mayor in a U.S. territory. Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan has criticized the Trump administration's response to the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, so of course she must be destroyed. The conservative media is fully mobilized.

Building on a point made in one of President Trump's tweets ("The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump"), RedState's strieff accuses the mayor of deliberately allowing residents to suffer in order to politicize the crisis:
You don’t have to be particularly keen observer to connect the dots here. Cruz was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton who abandoned Clinton in May 2016 to endorse Sanders. Up until a few days ago she was complimentary of FEMA and other federal efforts. Now she’s not.... Just as Eric Holder was more than willing to kill Mexicans and the occasional US Border Patrol agent to create a fact case for more regulation of gun sales, Yulin Cruz is willing to make her constituents suffer in order to create and bogus narrative of an incompetent and ineffective federal response.
So if she's doing this purely out of a political motive, why the early compliments for the federal response? Did someone in the Deep State get to her while she was wading through floodwaters and sleeping on a cot? Inquiring minds want to know.

The RedState post accuses Cruz of spending too much time on television. Meanwhile, the Daily Caller finds that a fellow mayor, Ángel Pérez Otero of neighboring Guaynabo, is eager to criticize her:
The mayor of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico cast serious doubt Saturday on the claims made by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz....

Guaynabo’s mayor, Angel Perez, said in an interview with The Daily Caller that his experience with the federal government has been different from Cruz’s....

“My experience is different. I have been participating in different meetings at the headquarters of FEMA and our government and the help is coming in and right now my experience is different from hers. I’m receiving help from the government, we are receiving assistance from FEMA, I got people over here helping us with applications for the people that have damage in their houses...."
Pérez also delivered the same message to Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner. (I guess Cruz isn't the only mayor who's spending a lot of time talking to journalists.) In both interviews, Pérez claims Cruz is absent from meetings with federal officials. He tells the Caller that "some mayors from her political party have been participating" in those meetings, which means that others aren't. Would he say that all the non-participants are doing a bad job?

I don't know, but the hits keep coming. A blog alternately known as The Last Refuge and The Conservative Treehouse posts a call to a Spanish-language radio station in New York City purportedly from a female police officer in Guaynabo. The headline is "Puerto Rico Cop Calls U.S. Radio Station Reporting Corrupt Mayor of San Juan and Request For Help...," although the officer also criticizes Puerto Rico's governor (who's being praised by President Trump) and the federal government. The caller accuses Cruz of deliberately withholding aid, and sees (I'm not making this up) the specter of communism:

(Turn on closed captioning for English.)

Police Caller: I cannot give my name because I work for Puerto Rico’s Police Department. I need to pass this information out because the stuff that is being brought from the U.S. is not being distributed. They are not allowing the Puerto Rican people to receive the donations....

Police Caller: The Mayor, Carmen Yulin, is not allowing anyone to distribute... We need... what Puerto Ricans need is that the U.S. armed forces come in and distribute the aid. And that they stop the governor, Rosello, and the mayor, Yulin, on doing what they are doing… It’s an abuse, it looks like communism, in our own island (sobbing)... (sobbing continues, inaudible translation due to cries)....

Police Caller: And the governor won’t move unless there is a camera behind him; [Mayor] Carmen Yulin won’t move unless there is a camera behind her....

Police Caller: We want the U.S. to come in, that the strongest forces come in and take the governor out, he is not doing anything, he is just going around and around, ...and everyone is like: “oh, look how nice, the governor, he is going in the mud, he is going in the water”, And where is it? Pardon the expression: WHERE IS THE FOOD?
Is this call legitimate? If so, a lot of blame is being assessed -- but the blog, relentlessly on message, singles out the mayor.

And for good measure, here's a random blogger with a post that doesn't bear quoting, titled "San Juan’s Crazy Little Marxist Lady Gets Her 15 Minutes Of Fame."

And while this isn't conservative media propaganda, I see that Tobin Harshaw of Bloomberg has interview former Navy captain Jerry Hendrix, who says that Trump didn't fail Puerto Rico:
TH: So, it seems like everybody has blasted Trump administration's response to the Puerto Rico crisis. Has that criticism been fair?

JH: No, I don’t think so. First of all, there was a fair amount of anticipatory action that is not being recognized. Amphibious ships, including the light amphibious carriers Kearsarge and Wasp and the amphibious landing ship dock Oak Hill were at sea and dispatched to Puerto Rico ahead of the hurricane’s impact.
Hendrix says there wasn't an urgent need to send the hospital ship Comfort -- it's not an emergency response ship. And he echoes some of Trump's own statements:
JH: Puerto Rico is an island that suffers from its position in the middle of the Caribbean and its physical separation from the U.S. Its roads were in disrepair and its electrical grid was antiquated prior to the hurricane. The island has also suffered for years from ineffective local government and rising local territorial debt.
It should be noted that Hendrix was touted as a possible Trump pick for Navy secretary, and is now being discussed as a possible Navy undersecretary, a post that remains unfilled. He's spent a great deal of time expressing his support for Trump's promised 350-ship Navy. One suspects he'd really like a job in this administration, and his kind words for Trump on Puerto Rico may be part of the job application.

I'm sure there'll be more attacks on the mayor. You can say that this is a uniquely Trumpian attack, but the right is ready to back him up because attacks like this are standard operating procedure on the right. Remember Sandra Fluke? Remember Graeme Frost? The right refuses to allow anyone to seize the moral high ground from a Republican. The inevitable response is war.

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