Tuesday, September 11, 2018


President Trump did an excellent job of dealing with the hurricane aftermath in Puerto Rico, said President Trump today.
One reporter asked about the lessons learned from the Puerto Rico response, and that’s when POTUS said this:
“I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful. Puerto Rico was actually our toughest one of all because it’s an island, so you can’t truck things onto it, everything’s by boat. We moved a hospital into Puerto Rico, a tremendous military hospital in the form of a ship. You know that. And I actually think and the governor has been very nice––if you ask the governor, he’ll tell you what a great job. I think probably the hardest one we had by far was Puerto Rico because of the island nature, and I actually think it was one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about.”
“The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did working along with the governor in Puerto Rico I think was tremendous,” he concluded. “I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible unsung success. Texas, we have been given A-pluses for. Florida, we’ve been given A-pluses for. I think in a certain way the best job we did was Puerto Rico, but nobody would understand that. It’s harder to understand. It was a very hard thing to do because of the fact they had no electric––before the storms hit, it was dead, as you probably know. So we’ve gotten a lot of receptivity, a lot of thanks for what we did in Puerto Rico.”

It's an exercise in futility to ask Trump's assessment of something he's done that's not admirable. Obviously he'll never say, "Yeah, we screwed the pooch in Puerto Rico" -- no president would -- but he won't even say, "Yeah, we made some mistakes," or even "Some mistakes were made." His response to criticism of his hurricane response is exactly the same as his advice to someone accused of sexual misconduct, as reported by Bob Woodward:
"You've got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women," Trump said, according to Woodward. "If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you're dead. That was a big mistake you made."

Trump said the key was showing no hesitancy in denying accusations and instead, be on the attack and push back.

"You didn't come out guns blazing and just challenge them. You showed weakness," Trump told the friend, according to Woodward. "You've got to be strong. You've got to be aggressive. You've got to push back hard. You've got to deny anything that's said about you. Never admit."
Trump critics know that his answer on Puerto Rico defies credibility -- but the people in his base get to hear him praise himself yet again, and they actually believe he's telling the truth. (They probably also believe that Puerto Rico is responsible for its own problems, because so many of the residents Aren't Like Us.)

If you're going to ask Trump about this, ask him what he'd say to the families of the 2975 people who died as a result of the hurricane. Not that his answer would be any less reprehensible, but you'd show him addressing callous, narcissistic remarks directly to the dead. This is about managerial skills, but it's also about people -- people for whom Trump has absolutely no empathy.

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