Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands Deserve Federal Assistance

A Personal Perspective

Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico a month ago and its residents continue to suffer with no end in sight. The president of the United States made a perfunctory trip and the most memorable things he did were continue a petty fight with the devoted mayor of San Juan and toss paper towels to the crowd, describing it later as “fun.”

Thus far, Trump has done nothing meaningful for Puerto Rico, concentrating instead on tweeting stupidity—what else would he do?—about NFL players not standing for the National Anthem. In the height of the crisis, singer Mark Anthony, a son of Puerto Rico, tweeted back at Trump to “Shut the @#$% up and help Puerto Rico.”

Good for Anthony—but it had no impact on Trump. He has no useful knowledge on the presidency and not an ounce of empathy as a leader. And while Puerto Rico needs and deserves all the help it can get, there is also another U.S. territory in the region that has been treated just as badly.

It has been all but forgotten that the U.S. Virgin Islands were also devastated and in need of help.

Trump hasn’t gone there, but if Puerto Rico is any example of how he treats suffering citizens, then thank God for small mercies. Instead, Kenneth Mapp, the governor of the Virgin Islands, had to meet Trump in San Juan. Imbecil that he is, Trump later said that he had met the “president of the Virgin Islands.” You’re their president, Mr. Trump!
And yet he is upset that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson supposedly referred to him as a “moron.” He’s lucky Tillerson used such a polite word. Most people use the vulgar two-word descriptor.

One has to wonder that if Trump can be so dismissive of Puerto Rico where he visited, is it any wonder that the Virgin Islands, hit by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria, have been ignored? Puerto Rico has more “natives” living in the mainland United States than do the Virgin Islands.

Puerto Rico also has countless celebrities and politicians with connections, whereas the Virgin Islands seem to have no famous or politically-connected advocates with roots there. They’re all alone in this, it seems.
My last vacation was a week in St. Thomas and St. John in the Virgin Islands. It’s a serenely beautiful place. The three-island U.S.-territory—St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John—needs and deserves serious federal assistance every bit as much as any other part of the United States wrecked by disaster. Neither the Virgin Islands nor Puerto Rico is getting its due.

Meanwhile, the president is in Washington acting like he’s a great patriot. He’s calling out NFL players for “disrespecting the flag and ‘our’ military.” One has to wonder, who does he think he’s fooling, other than his crazy base?

This is someone who used a fake heel spur to avoid serving in Vietnam, picks fights with Gold Star families and has a curious love affair with Russia—our sworn enemy. His problem with the NFL players who “take a knee” during the singing of the National Anthem is not about patriotism.

He can’t handle Puerto Rico, so he’d rather tweet rubbish. Whatever our individual opinion on kneeling athletes, it is nothing in comparison to American citizens suffering and dying.

For his insensitivity and sheer incompetence, Trump deserves a knee—right out of the White House. We are all doomed if this continues.

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