Trump vs Puerto Rico

Valeria Ostorga, Writer

On Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a category four hurricane while slowly reaching its peak to a category five. The hurricane ultimately left Puerto Rico with a loss of food, water, and electricity. This loss has left hospitals in desperate need of generators to power technology that aids patients; this has contributed to the increasing death toll in Puerto Rico. Therefore, the Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz,  has publicly pleaded for help to all nations that have heard her message because she and others believe that the actions taken by the United States has been slow and done without urgency.


In response to this, President Donald Trump used Twitter as his platform to comment on what Mayor Cruz had stated. Through his tweets, President Trump ultimately understated the actions that Puerto Rico has taken to help their people that and he undermined the whole disaster as well.


Ever since the 2017 presidential election, politicians have begun to use social media as way to get their message across– especially President Trump. Some support this idea because it allows politicians to instantly inform the people.


However, others like Jasmine Jimenez, 12, disagree with this method because when commenting behind a screen one can gain confidence which can be misleading.


“I see why politicians would want to use Twitter as a platform because many people have accounts and it’s fast,” Jimenez said. “Then again, it all just depends on how they use it. It just shouldn’t be used for backlash.”


Trying to push differences aside, San Juan Mayor and President Donald Trump met in Puerto Rico for a conference that is said to not have ended on a good note. The 15 minute meeting led for President Trump to call the Puerto Rico humanitarian disaster as burden by saying that it has “thrown our budget a little out of whack.” President Trump views the intensity of a disaster with the amount of certified deaths, and Puerto Rico has an increasing 36 certified deaths at the moment unlike Katrina which had over 1,800 deaths.


When informed of recent news, Amanda Hernandez, 12, gives her views on the situation.


“I see why President Trump would say that Puerto Rico is not as intense as Katrina when talking about death toll, but death is death,”Hernandez said. “When someone dies, the same emotional pain is there. I think that Puerto Rico’s situation is still bad since they are still  lacking necessities that most Katrina victims received in a shorter period than Puerto Ricans have.”


Hernandez points out that both disasters were tragic in their own way. She as well gives a new perception to President Trump’s death toll comparison by stating that death, no matter the amount, still has the same meaning.


President Trump’s visit still arises more speculations of his attitude toward the Puerto Rico disaster. During his visit, President Trump demonstrated his support for the Puerto Rican people by throwing rolls of paper towel  at them. This action, through President Trump’s perception, was suppose to be seen as a light gesture to show his support in the midst of the disaster. However, others like Karina Dominguez, 12,  see otherwise.


“President Trump is wanting to show support, but the past presidents have shown that they were supportive differently,” Dominguez said. “ Ultimately,  I don’t understand why it was seen fit to throw rolls of paper towel to a group of people that are in desperate need of other things.”


Others like Dominguez do believe that the paper towels does not parallel the intensity of the disaster. For, Mayor Cruz does state that the visit of the U.S administration to Puerto Rico was “insulting” to the people of Puerto Rico. The conflict between President Trump and Puerto Rico, especially Mayor Cruz, does show how people can view and respond to disaster differently. However, in the end, saving lives is hopefully what makes the nation alike. Now, as of Oct. 12, the conflict between President Trump and Puerto Rico continues since President Trump tweeted that  he will pull federal emergency management workers from the site due to a potential financial crisis. However, many officials are beginning to respond to President Trump’s statement in support of Puerto Rico.  


To donate towards the Puerto Rico disaster please visit the Direct Relief website.