Things are terrible in Puerto Rico following a direct hit with Hurricane Maria, and for many of the people who live there, problems are only mounting as time drags on without power, communication, or even clean drinking water. It’s a tragedy of incredible scale, and despite what imaginary grades Donald Trump imagines he’s getting, the response has been lacking, and Samantha Bee took him to task for just that—as well as seeming not to have any real idea what’s going on.
Only today—after immense pressure and Trump’s complaints that people in the shipping industry aren’t happy about it—was the Jones Act lifted for Puerto Rico, allowing non-U.S. ships to bring supplies to the island. That move was made much more swiftly in helping Texas and Florida recover from their own recent hurricane problems. Not only that, but Trump’s own initial statements about what was happening on the island focused on Puerto Rico’s problems, which have been largely caused by the effect of U.S. laws on their economy. Regardless, it feels weird to have to defend the economic state of the place when talking about disaster relief, but that’s the situation Trump has put everyone in.
Beyond that, even the supplies that have gotten to Puerto Rico apparently aren’t doing much good, as they just sit on docks due to a lack of effective distribution. (You might be able to help with that if you’ve got trucking qualifications.) Meanwhile, the Trump administration is reportedly utilizing a discretionary practice to require evacuees to pay their full travel costs. (Update: That appears to be false.) Trump himself is planning to travel to Puerto Rico next Tuesday, where he will probably stage some photo shoots where he’s handing out a few supplies rather than wielding any of his actual power as president to truly help.
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