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The Internet Is Calling Attention to the Crisis in Puerto Rico, and Calling Trump Out

Donald Trump spent the weekend having Tweetstorm fits about black athletes who kneel during the anthem in order to protest police brutality and social injustice. Meanwhile, the 3.5 million American citizens in Puerto Rico are facing a massive humanitarian disaster. Trump is fiddling while Puerto Rico drowns.

Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, are U.S. territories and their residents are American citizens. But because they are not formal states, the islands lack Congressional representation, voting power, and Electoral College votes, and thus do not wield the kind of political power in Washington that Trump and his ilk care about. So a complete lack of urgency has greeted the incredibly dire situation there. While some measure of aid has begun, Trump passed the weekend picking a fight with the NFL and the NBA and squawking about the flag and patriotism instead of talking about the real suffering of American citizens.

Contrast Puerto Rico’s devastation to the political and media attention on hurricanes in Texas and Florida. This is one instance where social media is proving valuable in trying to refocus the conversation from Trump’s antics to the lives and blood that will be on his hands without significant U.S. aid and response. And people have taken disaster relief into their own hands, which restores some of my faith in humanity but isn’t the way this is supposed to work.

Hawaiian Senator Brian Schatz would like everyone to remember:

This is not soon enough, by any stretch of the imagination.


Puerto Rico is facing the possibility of more than 6 months without any electricity. But more immediately, they face a lack of food, injuries, disease, infrastructure collapse, failing hospital generators, and a myriad of other logistical issues that amount to a humanitarian nightmare.

Imagine if the people of Puerto Rico could vote in America’s national elections:

Here’s what a competent President would be doing right around now, in the mirror universe where I wish to live:

Never forget that this is the GOP and Trump’s joint priority:

I knew I wasn’t the only one who kept hearing echoes of “heckuva job, Brownie” all this awful weekend. But at least Bush acknowledged the disaster at his doorstep, even while he terribly botched the response:

The Governor of Puerto Rico is begging for help:

Welcome to America:

Maybe Trump hasn’t been updated by his primary news source:

Or maybe the residents should start marching with Tiki torches, screaming about nationalism, to get some attention?

Meanwhile, celebrities seem to be doing more for humanitarian disaster relief than the government:

And here’s what you can do, right now:

(image: Shutterstock)

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Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.