PeRception, the PResident and Puerto Rico

Illustration by Dave Granlund

They say perception is everything. It can sometimes be a matter of life and death. Just ask Puerto Rico.

According to CNBC, “It has been more than a week since Hurricane Maria wreaked devastation on Puerto Rico, destroying the power grid and leaving millions without access to necessities. Emergency supplies of food, water and gas have begun to arrive at ports, but trucks cannot deliver these needed supplies across the island. Many roads are wrecked or blocked off, and the island faces fuel shortages. There has been intense criticism of the Trump administration’s response to the growing humanitarian crisis.”

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration praised FEMA’s relief efforts as video and interviews streaming out of Puerto Rico showed a very different story. The Trump team’s reality disagreed with the victims’ reality.

According to vox.com, “Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke claimed that a ‘limited number of deaths that have taken place,’ and overall, Puerto Rico was ‘a good news story.’ San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz had a very different take on the disaster. ‘This is a ‘people are dying’ story,’ she told CNN.” On Friday, President Trump boasted about his fantastic record in Puerto Rico: “It’s been incredible. The results that we’ve had with respect to loss of life. People can’t believe how successful that has been, relatively speaking.” Not according to Mayor Cruz. “If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency,” she exclaimed. She later told NBC, “I’m mad as hell!” Trump followed with a storm of tweets Saturday, blaming Cruz for “poor leadership” and claiming the island’s leaders “want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”

The gap between the administration’s statements and Puerto Rico’s reality was wide, and Trump’s war of words with San Juan’s mayor effectively overshadowed any opportunity to, at a minimum, create the perception of empathy. Ultimately, even if relief efforts improve, FEMA and the president are sure to be roundly denounced for providing help–and caring–too little and too late. Your thoughts?

45 thoughts on “PeRception, the PResident and Puerto Rico

  1. Aisha S. Buchanan

    Trump’s administration and the mayor of Puerto Rico are showing two different reactions when speaking on the devastation of the hurricane. Clearly there is some disconnect. It seems as though there is a lack of care and sympathy for what has happened to Puerto Rico. If the administration helped out like they were suppose to, it wouldn’t make a difference. All it does is tell america that the administration can and will neglect their citizens if a humanitarian crisis were to strike again.

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  2. Forrest Gitlin

    I actually have to pay close attention to the situation in Puerto Rico for work. So, it struck me for a couple weeks how the country was so concerned about NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, that they overlooked the suffering and devastation of its own citizens.
    It is the job of public relations practitioners to try to steer the attention of the media and the public towards causes and issue that benefit their clients. But what can the White House communications team do when their client, Donald Trump, refuses to pay attention to the issue until it is too late and his credibility has already been damaged? Trump could have used the power of the bully pulpit, the power of @realDonaldTrump, to direct the nation’s eyes to the devastated territory. Instead, he cared only for riling up tensions with a sports league. And when he did get involved in Puerto Rico, he only damaged his own image and made the jobs of the White House communications team even more difficult.
    At some point, there’s nothing that any public relations professional could say to explain some of the communications and priority decisions taken by this administration.

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  3. Anthony Ferrufino

    I believe the biggest problem with the Trump administration is its communication with the public. Every time this administration speaks they talk about how “wonderful” they are doing. This gives the perception that there is a disconnect with what is actually going on. I believe that the biggest problem with the Trump presidency is his ego; in an attempt to boost his ego he makes outlandish claims. However once he is attacked, he attacks back with no care of the political ramifications of his actions. I believe that the Trump administration should have come out with all the facts and explained how difficult the recovery would be. This would have assured people of his seriousness towards the situation while also appearing to be sympathetic to the pleas of the Puerto Rican people

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  4. Kerry Lowery

    I have a personal connection to what is happening in Puerto Rico seeing as I had a cousin stranded there due to the hurricane. She attempted to fly out before the storm but couldn’t and was stranded in her hotel for two weeks. She had to walk to the store to spend nine dollars on water because the hotel was running low. She felt guilty for being there because she was taking up a room that could have been used as shelter for a family that needed it. I don’t think Trump fully understands what is going on there. By the time he arrived my cousin had been stranded a week and his arrival still didn’t do much in the way of help. Trump has continues to blame Puerto Rico for the hurricane like they could control it and chose to let this happen. From where I’m sitting it seems he does not intend to understand the situation fully and it seems as if celebrities and the people of Puerto Rico are working harder than he is.

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  5. Katrina Tacconelli

    What I Have learned in life is that no one is fully going to 100 percent agree with what you have to say. Someone is always going to find fault or thing their idea is better than yours. I think he situation that happened with Puerto Rico is very upsetting. A lot of people lost everything and they are waiting for things to go back to normal. My opinion is that we should help put in any way possible.

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  6. Jazmin Quinci

    Trump’s comment about Puerto Rico wanting everything done for them takes me back to when the Island was electing whether or not to become a state, an independant country or remain a commonwealth. Critics of Puerto Rico claimed the Island wanted to stay a commonwealth because it affords them access to the U.S. without binding them to the mainland. For a time, when this was a hot topic, many Americans and other members of neighboring countries such as the Dominican Republic felt jealous and angered by the seemingly unfairness of the privileges that come with being an American commonwealth (e.g. citizenship and access to goods and services such as University learning without immigration officials controlling the process) and believed islanders were lazy taking for granted such privileges and ungrateful especially when Puerto Ricans openly criticized the U.S. to the media. So I feel like President Trump is echoing similiar resentments but in a different way calling out their leadership and lack of community effort. It’s like he’s the big brother who was previously scorned and now is behaving like, “Now you need my help…”

    The fact is Puerto Ricans do PAY federal taxes to the U.S. and are therefore taxpayers and support the same federal system they’re asking to help them. Also male youths are required to sign-up for selective service should a draft come about so President Trump, the Commander-in-Chief, needs to show some respect since Puerto Rico pays their financial and military dues. I know mature compassionate responses are not his thing but sometimes staying quiet and focusing on what needs to get done is all one needs to do. This media frenzy over arguments and nasty responses is so old already. I’m shocked people are still tuning in to this uncouth media figure who talks so much and yet says so little worth our time.

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  7. olivia abbatiello

    Honestly, at this point, for the public to expect the current administration to act quickly, effectively and fairly in response to a national disaster is a recipe for disappointment. The Trump administration can not conduct a press conference without it going up in flames, so why would we expect them to act in a time of serious need? Of course the response to this event was so horrible. Also, it isn’t directly on US soil so Trump and his constituents were even less motivated to conduct themselves in the correct manner. Bottom line – when an entire country is devastated and its people are without basic needs for daily life, it is not the time to tweet insults to the woman who is trying to keep her people alive.

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    1. sumtarheel16gmailcom

      Trumps ‘s administration slow response to aid Puerto Rico is not at all surprising. Trump only engaged conversation around Puerto Rico only because media coverage increased over Puerto Rico. The speech he gave portrayed him as not even knowing Puerto Rico was a U.S Territory filled with American citizens. When asked about giving aid to Puerto Rico, Trump conveyed that the federal government’s aid to Puerto Rico is contingent upon the stability of Puerto Rico’s economy. During Harvey’s devastation Trump communicated unconditional and unwavering support for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Could it be that a large group of minorities on an off shore island influence the level of efficiency they receive aid? Once again Trump’s racial in-sensitivities peak its ugly head in how he communicates and delivers actions.

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  8. Amina Antoury

    I agree with both Daniella and John. What is going on in the world today is absolutely heartbreaking. I think if Trump stepped in more it would not be too late too late. There are people that still need help and I even know a lot of people who have dropped everything to fly down there which is very admirable and something a lot of people are not willing to do despite what they say. I would hope and trust that our government is getting involved and helping as much as they can at this time.

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  9. Daniella Opabajo

    I don’t believe that the President caring now will be “too little too late”. The people in Puerto Rico still need help and if President Trump makes this a priority they might get the full amount of assistance they deserve. It is truly insulting and outlandish for President Trump to say that the people of Puerto Rico want “everything done for them.” At this point they are helpless, they have no resources to even help themselves. I believe that it is poor leadership to take more interest in NFL players taking a knee rather than an issue that involved people dying. I can’t understand how this is a “good news story.” Nothing about this is good, Hurricane Irma is one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit Puerto Rico. The White House administration along with President Trump need to step up and change their rhetoric and actually put more effort into helping the people in Puerto Rico. I understand there are people that are helping and the good people at FEMA who are putting an effort to help. But if people hear the President of the United States saying the comments that he has been saying, people will not take this as serious as it needs to be.

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  10. Meghan Von Elm

    Once again, I think the media is blowing this situation way out of proportion. They are focusing on all of the drama between Trump and the San Juan mayor, and they’re not focusing on what is REALLY going on in Puerto Rico. I have yet to see a news story that is strictly about the actual condition of Puerto Rico. Everything is “he-said-she-said” nonsense. I do believe that Trump should lay off Twitter because it is causing more harm than good and it is feeding into the media. I think everyone would be better off if the mainstream media focused on true, unbiased facts.

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  11. McKenna Heim

    I’m pretty sure this is obvious–this is the absolute LOWEST he could do. I’ve seen his supporters on social media say “Well at least he, _____” / “At least he made the speech offering his condolences”. As Trump would say, “WROOOONG!” Of course that is the least the President of the United States of America could do! He happens to be a billionaire and instead of helping the people of PR with his personal corporate responsibility or even just his responsibility as the leader of the freeworld, he’s taking jabs at someone who is actually trying to help. The mayor of San Juan is in the floods full of sewage and grime with a bullhorn trying to find people.
    I’m wondering what Trump will say about the Las Vegas shooting last night.

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  12. Yvette Wiafe

    Saying the people of PR “want everything to be done for them” and “that it should be a community effort” is a the most inhumane assertion Trump has made yet. Who else on the island could have possibly help them? Its quite obvious that Mr. Trump isn’t acquainted with what is happening in PR or he’s just heartless. Even celebrities in their own small way(s) have helped the people of PR so sending relief items with taxpayers money to the people shouldn’t be an issue. His twitter war with the Mayor of San Juan almost drifted us off focus. It’s about time his communications team took over his twitter handle.

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  13. Derrica Newman

    I feel like Trump took an extremely long time to respond to the crisis that is happening in Puerto Rico. Trump uses twitter to express his feelings to often and frequently. When he is on twitter he is spewing alternate facts. He claims that help is on the way, but Puerto Rico has yet to receive any type of help from America’s government. If it were not for celebrities sending supplies and donating money the people of Puerto Rico would not have any help. Arguing with San Juan’s mayor via twitter is not the appropriate move right now. Trump needs to get to Puerto Rico and show them and the rest of America that he cares and what his next steps will be.

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  14. Steven Freitag

    Donald Trump has always been all about America and what is happening on our own land rather than focusing on the well-being of other nations. From the beginning of his campaign he wanted to fix the infrastructure in America and help companies who do not ship overseas and are located on American soil. It does not surprise me that he is still solely focused on fixing our own country and not Puerto Rico. However, my issue is that Puerto Rico is an American owned territory, and it should be our federal government’s job to help them survive the natural disaster, Hurricane Maria, as quickly as possible. The Trump administration should have acted quicker on sending help, whether it’s in the form of supplies, people to rescue, or money, help should have arrived much sooner.

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  15. Nichole Bingham

    After reading the blog post, I find that celebrities are doing more to help the people in Puerto Rico then Trump is. Pitbull (Spanish rapper) is flying cancer patients who aren’t getting the treatment that they need from Puerto Rico to America, on his private jet. I think that it’s very sad that celebrities are making more of an effort to help those affected by the hurricane than their own president. Trump needs to get off Twitter and start helping the victims of Hurricane Maria. I also think that it was a little uncalled for when Trump called Mayor Cruz a poor leader, when he can’t even run his own country. There needs to be a change and it needs to start NOW!

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  16. czackarypenn

    Donal Trump seriously needs to stay off twitter. This is yet another instance of him making a mockery of himself and our country by deflecting blame away from himself, while simultaneously boasting about how great of a job he is doing. Many average Americans had no clue that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory until just recently. Tons of aide has been sent from the government to help those in need in Texas and Florida after the devastation wrecked by hurricanes Irma and Jose. Nonetheless, many people are simply trying to turn a blind eye to the devastation that hurricane Maria has caused in Puerto Rico. While people are without food, water, shelter or means of transportation, Trump is probably lounging on twitter, eating some of “THE BEST CAKE EVER” and scolding dying Puerto Ricans for not being more prepared. In my honest opinion, this may be the most shameful, idiotic thing Trump has done during his presidency. So far, at least.

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  17. Matthew Leong

    Trump only seems to really speak about tragedies that occur on U.S. soil. He tries to downplay what happened on Puerto Rico, in order to have Americans focus on America. Because Trump is so pro USA, there was minimal help for Puerto Rico. As a U.S. territory, however, it would only be fair if Puerto Rico received some form of aid from Americans. Trump is constantly taking it to Twitter to speak about these issues, when it might be better to just do something about it.

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  18. Ian Budding

    All too often, President Trump will point the finger away from himself whenever he is criticized for how he and his administration handles certain national and international issues. So for him to be acting like this in the midst of the San Juan mayor telling the world that there’s more that needs to be done in terms of relief efforts is not surprising at all. There appears to be no concept of understanding or sympathy that the president has displayed over social media. It’s only a matter of time before Puerto Rico and U.S. relations become very tense. Judging by the way our international relations have become over the past year, it should be one of the president’s main priorities that we begin to heal our relationships with other countries.

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  19. Paula Chirinos

    My jaw dropped in shock of reading Trump’s inconsiderate comments lashing the mayor of San Juan. A politician should not be making public statements on social media criticizing another politician and least of all when there is a crisis taking place. His main focus should be on getting what has to be done, done. This is professionalism at its lowest. It also surprises me how far the White House has been trying to stretch the truth about their humanitarian efforts despite all the criticism they get over this. Do they really think we buy their lies?

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  20. Kaitlyn Cusumano

    I believe that Trump should have tried to created a sense of empathy and compassion for the people in Puerto Rico so that Americans or anyone watching would have possibly donated to the island but I feel as though there is a lot of places still in ruin such as South Florida and Texas that I would hope he is more focused on. From a public relations stand point, Trump should have been up front and honest about the truths of the horrific realities that are devastating Puerto Rico. He should not have picked up his phone and tweeted as he should not have many times.

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  21. Unice Kim

    There is no denying how the hurricane has devastated areas like Puerto Rico. There are photographic and video evidence that Puerto Rico is not fine. I believe that Trump and the government are trying to denounce how serious the hurricane was, and are trying to make themselves look good by basically saying that the situation has been taken care of.

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  22. Shayla Sales

    Whether or not the devastation in Puerto Rico caused only limited deaths or was fatal, Trump’s response was delayed . This is yet again another failed attempt on the president and his team. It is obvious the havoc that reined over Puerto Rico was not handled with urgency or importance. Trump took on other endeavors such as bashing the NFL or causing WWlll with North Korea, instead of aiding those who are still in need of attention. It never fails for Trump to take to twitter to negatively use his platform to bash other leaders and soil the reputation of the USA.

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  23. Greg Liodice

    Honestly, this whole Puerto Rico/Trump controversy has been very odd to me. It looks very bad on Trump that he lashed out on the mayor who is in need, but when I did some extra research, I saw there was a fairly valid reason why Trump did what he did. FEMA stated that there has been great communication with 77 out of the 78 mayors in Puerto Rico, and the only one they had issues with was with the mayor from San Juan. The mayor of San Juan, in my opinion, seemed to take advantage of a terrible situation to bash the President.

    I just found it rather odd that she had time to make custom t-shirts and hats that say “We Are Dying” and “SOS” when she should’ve been helping her people instead. Another odd instance in this whole controversy was during the mayor’s press conference where she was claiming her disappointment with the President, she told reporters they were “running out of supplies” and that they “needed more help” when there visibly were supplies in abundance behind her.

    If she was looking to bash the President, I think she should’ve picked a better spot to do it in. From a PR point of view, I would’ve seen it as a nightmare because of the both instances that made her look bad. It seemed like President Trump has done all he has could to help out the people of Puerto Rico, and I think this whole controversy was just something to stir the pot and have people talking.

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  24. Jessica Sodowich

    What happens when two completely different messages that are being spread to the general public? On the one hand, you have Trump’s people making it sound like Hurricane Maria barely touched Puerto Rico, whereas major news organizations have mass content illustrating the exact opposite of what the leader of the free world’s message is. So who do people believe? For many of us here, our first inclination is not to take Trump at his word. What about those who do follow him, though? This is a situation that should not be made into a political feud — Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. Not only is it morally correct to help them rise from the devastation, but the U.S. is politically obligated to help. If the White House pretends nothing is wrong, then Trump’s loyal followers will abstain from helping in this huge humanitarian disaster. It’s interesting how many sources of information we have these days, and how limiting yourself to certain messages restricts your objective perception of the world around you. What about those citizens who are listening to both controversial messages and don’t know what to think?

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  25. Megan Pohlman

    First of all, President Trump cannot blame Mayor Cruz for a “lack of leadership” when their island is completely out of power. They have no resources and no way of obtaining them without the government’s help. Puerto Rico is U.S. territory and I truly think our government forgets that sometimes. I watched a broadcast that I believe came from a reporter with CNN. He dangerously flew out to Puerto Rico to show exactly what was happening. The reporter interviewed multiple people, but one person he interviewed was from Brooklyn, NY. As sad as it is, I am hoping the government sees that it’s not just people originally from Puerto Rico that are on the island. There are people nationwide stuck there with no help from President Trump or the government and people are dying because of it. People are dying long after Hurricane Maria hit them. People should NOT be dying because they do not have the resources they need to survive. Our government needs to step up and do something before it gets any worse.

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  26. joebarone28

    Let’s establish one thing. President Trump needs to lay off Twitter. Just enough with the tweeting, at least for now. He’s digging a hole!

    Now, onto the real issue here. I don’t believe the narrative that the president “doesn’t care” about the lives in Puerto Rico. I think that can be misconstrued by each side of the political spectrum. While there’s no denying relief aid has been slower than normal, I actually think the president hasn’t done as awful a job as people have been saying. I have seen several videos and tweets of stocked ports in PR that are filled to capacity with food, water, supplies etc. I think sometimes that can be lost in the shuffle. I also saw on Twitter the Governor of PR was skyping with the president just days after the massive hurricane struck the island to communicate needs. He applauded the president’s efforts. So I don’t know what to truly believe here.

    It’s not easy to respond so quickly – especially when FEMA has already been busy trying to help Texans and Floridians. PR is just as important as Texas and Florida – for sure – but because it was one after another, I don’t think the relief efforts could have been as fast as we all would have wanted. I think the president is making of what he has and I have a feeling I’ll be getting slight backlash for this comment. (Sorry).

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  27. John Grillea

    Trump’s Twitter rants can certainly be unprofessional. He often lets his emotions get the best of him, which he shouldn’t given his position of power. Criticism shouldn’t always be taken as a bad thing and he certainly needs to control the Twitter fingers being our leader. Then again, I’m sure we would all have trouble dealing with a large majority of the population, celebrities, athletes, or nearly every media outlet coming against us at all angles 24/7. Still though, he needs to do a much better job at controlling his emotions. He brings up a good point regarding community effort, even though it should have been said in a more polite manner. The community needs to work with the government in order to rebound as quickly as they possibly can. Given that this was such a horrible disaster on our territory, I would hope that our government is doing all that they can to help PR. I’m sure the situation is much more difficult than we think. As we’re learning in class, we shouldn’t feed into everything we read and need to look at various media outlets.

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  28. Maya

    I’m somehow astonished, yet unsurprised at the same time by the Twitter storm President Trump stirred up this week about Puerto Rico. His m.o. is to denounce and attack anyone who makes a statement that isn’t praiseful of him and his administration, so in that way, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

    His propensity to spew out whiny tweets, this time directed at Mayor Cruz, proves how he’s a PR nightmare, yet also a master at deflecting attention. In this case, President Trump has exemplified precisely what he accused his latest Twitter victim of: poor leadership. And for someone who devoted last week to going after NFL kneelers and used patriotism as his excuse, it sure is ironic that he’s posting divisive tweets like, “They want everything to be done for them when it’s a community effort.” It’s a racist statement at its core, and sounds to me like a “you guys don’t matter as much.”

    It felt infuriating to see Mayor Cruz’s literal mayday call and newspapers’ photos of the devastated island, but then watch Duke parading the “good news story” narrative. Even if it’s true that the number of deaths in Puerto Rico has remained low, her mere choice of words made all difference in painting the administration’s response as tone-deaf and inappropriate.

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  29. Jessica Dillard

    The government failed to help Puerto Rico. It’s not as if the Trump administrations reputation hasn’t already been tarnished, but they look even worse every day those people do not get help. Their lack of concern and care for people is astonishing.

    The administration needs to come to grips with the fact that Puerto Rico is an American territory and they need help. They need to put aside the politics and Twitter wars and help human beings who are sick, scared and dying.

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  30. Jeffrey Werner

    I do believe Trump and FEMA will face backlash over their response to Puerto Rico. The response should’ve been a lot quicker and FEMA and Trump will have a long road to recover that image. At the same time, Trump brought up an interesting point that leaders shouldn’t wait for everything to be done for them. The east coast recovered from Hurricane Sandy, Louisiana recovered from Hurricane Katrina, and Florida has rebuilt from tropical storms on numerous occasions. It takes a conjoined effort, by the government and the community, to rebuild following a natural disaster. So both parties are to blame for the slow recovery.

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  31. Justin Ayala

    I agree that Trump’s war of words with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, do overshadow the opportunity to create the perception of empathy. The people of Puerto Rico’s reality is devastating one regardless of what Trump’s administration says they’ve done. Hurricane Maria wreaked mass damage on the small island. As a U.S. Territory, the government should feel obligated to help Puerto Rico, which is already bankrupt. U.S. Citizens should be at least given the honest news on the people of Puerto Rico as well as other hurricane victims affected in the U.S. If they are given the truth, then they will be given the opportunity to decide on helping or at least feeling empathetic, which can however be obsolete.

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  32. claudiabarnard

    Donald Trump is handling this situation horribly. Puerto Rico is an United States territory and the fact that it took so long to provide any type of relief is not admirable at all on Trumps part. Taking to Twitter to call out the San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, is very childish. The leader of our country should not be turning to social media on issues like this. Thankfully help is starting to be provided in Puerto Rico, but just not as soon as it should have been.

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  33. Kristina Barry

    I think that Trump and his administration could have completely avoided this entire situation if they would have sent aid immediately after Maria hit. Meteorologists even knew the severity of the storm prior to the storm even hitting Peutro Rico, they could have sent supplies to them to help them prepare and protect homes or give them food to last a few days before help arrived. I don’t think realizes how big of a problem this is, action should have been taken immediately. These two leaders should be working together, not arguing over Twitter, this is only working against things.

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  34. Brianna Flynn

    I’m not surprised that president Trump pointed a finger at others when his actions were criticized. He shows a pattern of bragging and blaming. It’s as if Trump sees his presidency as an image that merely needs to be upheld and disregards any commitment to honesty and integrity. The Trump administration should have taken their commitment to relieving Puerto Rico more seriously, not even for the sake of their reputation but for the sake of their fellow American’s lives. Natural disasters are the perfect time to showcase how strong America is and how we can bounce back from any disaster because we have the resources to do so. Trump failed us and made us look weak. If there were difficulties with sending supplies to the island, then the supplies should have been shipped on military helicopters. I don’t know what Trump has his attention on, but it’s making our nation look bad. He needs to step it up!

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  35. Chris Bounds

    The situation with Puerto Rico and the Trump administration is delicate but yet simple in hindsight. If the Trump administration had just started to help out Puetro when Maria had ended they wouldn’t have found themselves in this situation. Trump taking to Twitter to argue with Cruz over facts of whether relief was given in time does not help the situation. What they should be more focus on is making sure that relief is given to Peurto so that instead of arguing over facts and statements taken by the people of Puerto. Show evidence of what is being done by FEMA and the Trump administration instead. Arguing isn’t going to help these people but action will.

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  36. Haley Nemeth

    The Trump administration took a long time to address the situation going on in Puerto Rico, and when they did address the situation it did not line up with the perspective of the Puerto Ricans suffering. It was very childish for Trump to get defensive against the mayor’s words. Mayor Cruz is on the front lines of the situation and trying to help her people, while the administration are more concerned about reporting falsely on the situation. The administration is acting like Puerto Rico is foreign territory and not as if it belongs to the United States.

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  37. Rosaria Rielly

    Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, which is a United States territory, yet is being treated more like an international territory with the lack of support and supplies being sent over. It is a disgrace on Trump’s part of leaving this poor island in “life or death” situations, not giving them the support they need and deserve, while he is out golfing for fun instead. Trump is not giving Puerto Rico the respect that was given to Texas and Florida, even though they were all impacted by the devastating hurricanes, and even though those two states have a lot more resources and accessibility to those resources than Puerto Rico does as a whole. Trump should not disrespect other administrators and condemn them in their leadership and response tactic when he is not taking the situation is Puerto Rico seriously. He should have been there giving aid from the start and personally helping, instead of just wanting other leaders and the community to step in theirselves.

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  38. Delaney Barac

    Natural disasters have recently put our country through horrific damage. This damage has also pointed out the contrast between the help given to Texas vs. the help given to Puerto Rico. It is heartbreaking to see the lack of help we are sending to Puerto Rico, a place that is United States territory. Trump decided to use social media to criticize leaders of Puerto Rico rather than using it to get help to all of the people struggling to survive there. Finally, help is slowly getting to Puerto Rico, but it is disgraceful that our president took over a week to do anything about it.

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  39. Raffaella Tonani

    What I am writing now is under my perspective, the next comment will reflect another person’s perspective. Neither of them is right or wrong, perception is just how one person feels/reacts to something. In international events like Puerto Rico, whether a person is more or less affected by something, is influenced by proximity to that event and media.

    Why was every news organization reporting on Texas and Florida when Harvey and Irma (respectively) hit? Why is Maria, the equivalent of this hurricanes for Puerto Rico different? Sure, Texas and Florida are bigger therefore have more population so more people were affected but it is about proportions and conditions of each territory. Puerto Rico has less population (more than 15 million people of difference from the two states), it also has less resources to prevent or tackle the damages and has less media coverage therefore it receives less attention. Puerto Rico is not another state but it is american territory yet is seems very foreign, some reasons might be that puerto ricans cannot vote in elections and the first language is not english, if an event does not hit closer to home, people are less moved, less interested and empathetic about it. This translates to caring less. The media depends on ratings so instead of covering Puerto Rico’s disaster because rating would not be as high they cover what president Trump tweeted about it, that gets people talking.

    In march my country was extremely affected by mudslides, but I looked to Peruvian media to be informed about it because international media outlets were not covering it as much. The thing is I felt it closer because it is my country, my friends, my family, i’m involved in volunteering so I knew the people in extremely poor living conditions like the one I build houses for were affected. After a month even national media started covering less, so when i got there 4 months later, there were still a lot of houses and road to clean, people living in tents, still in need of donations, people that cents of a dollar means eating for a day. But people my own friends and family told me they did not think the situation was still that serious because them media stop covering it. But Raffaella Tonani felt it closer because I have a personal attachment to it.

    Factors like income, job, education, family, attachment to a place or people affect our perceptions. I think an administration in charge of a territory should help it. I also think that until the administration experiences the damages with its own eyes it cannot possible imagine and understand what people are going through. To do so, the administration has to go to Puerto Rico, talk to the authorities and affected people. Now, Puerto Rico is not the only responsibility of the administration so delegate, I am not expecting the president to drop everything and go to Puerto Rico to give out donations himself. That being said, he can sent a FEMA team to constantly oversee the situation. If they cannot give more help then check upon the advances, evaluate its needs and more efficient ways of delivering help. However, the way people like you and me are going to find out about it, is media. We need media to be our eyes and ears, to transport us through news, testimonies and pictures/videos to perceive the situation according to the reality. We need visualize the situation to understand what people are going through.

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  40. Aliyah

    There’s no question that President Trump’s Twitter response was inappropriate and classless. The contrast between the swift aid to Texas and the apathetic response to Puerto Rico is shameful. Puerto Rico is a US territory and the government should’ve taken more initiative to help out sooner. Implicitly accusing their leadership of laziness was not only rude, but condescending. What’s happening in Puerto Rico is devastating and the President should be coming under more fire for his lack of interest in aiding these hurricane victims.

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  41. Jessica Gilmour

    Donald Trump is a public relations nightmare. The country looks to their leader eagerly in times of disaster, but Trump has shown Puerto Rico that he is not equipped to provide comfort and resolution. The administration needs to provide for Puerto Rico the same as they have provided for many other natural disasters in this country.

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  42. Abby

    This is another situation where the Trump administration has not used the correct responce when dealing with a serious situation, such as the hurricane that took place in Puerto Rico. Instead of attacking other leaders he should show true leadership by not counter attacking but by helping. He should be understanding and sympathetic of the situation that they are going through instead of suggesting that what they are going through is their own problem.

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  43. Ana G Canahuate-Torres

    I feel that the Trump administration took a long time to help Puerto Rico. The administration did not care enough for their beloved U.S. territory because while the island was suffering with no electricity or emergency food supplies which they should have provided immediately. The Dominican Republic is helping more with the little resources we have compared to the U.S. which has more resources and is a developed country. I dont think Trump himself is taking the situation in Puerto Rico seriously he blames it on the governors and leaders of the island, but there is only so little they can do. The only positive of this situation is that at least now the media is getting involved informing the American public of what is going on in Puerto Rico and how they can also help the individuals that have been affected by this natural disaster.

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