There isn’t a low bar for Donald Trump commentaries anymore. The bar has been obliterated. Everything he says is terrible, including Sunday morning’s tweet about political “ingrates” in Puerto Rico.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, has been explicit about the horrific conditions of the person or persons in Puerto Rico, and transparent about the lack of support the island has been receiving from Donald Trump. She hasn’t attacked Trump outright, but she’s resorted to outright begging for help.
In response to Cruz, the president has been tweeting–and golfing–amidst one of the most horrendous humanitarian crises of his government. His latest tweets, on Sunday morning, seemed to had indicated that Cruz and the people of Puerto Rico aren’t thankful enough for the minimal amount of aid that’s been provided so far.
We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates ,…
— Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017
“We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates, people are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military, ” he tweeted.
While Trump did not immediately call Cruz out, his past attacks on the mayor suggest that the “politically motivated ingrates” section of his tweet is directed squarely at Cruz.
Trump’s use of the word “ingrate” is not only disrespectful to to the mayor and her dogged relief efforts on the ground, though that’s bad on its own. It also continues to perpetuate an ugly sentiment: that the people of Puerto Rico should be thankful for any attention at all from the president and his administration. Remember: the people of Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States.
Trump’s tweets suggest that every person without potable water, electricity, and shelter is, in a word, ungrateful. The racial implications of his Puerto Rico inaction is also made clear with his term choice beyond “ingrate.” He has repeatedly othered the person or persons of Puerto Rico in his statements.
“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help, ” he tweeted on Saturday. “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community endeavor, ” he said, referring to those agony as “they, ” and distancing the idea that “they” are “us”–citizens who should expect their government to step in during times of require, just as they did in Houston and Florida.
In a tweet that ran viral on Saturday, novelist Jess Dweck took his statement and flipped it on it’s head, blaming the president with his own words. Dweck shared an image of Trump and his family alongside over 50 people who, according to the caption on Getty Images, are his household staff at Mar-a-Lago Club.
Many others have also jumped onto Twitter to blame Trump, particularly after his latest “ingrate” tweet.