Different Takes: ‘Interruption Of Medical Care’ Devastating In Puerto Rico; Trump Needs To Start Treating Deaths As Tragedy
Opinion writers look at the government's response to the health emergency brought about by Hurricane Maria.
Trump Failed The Americans Of Puerto Rico
The death toll from Hurricane Maria appears to have been 4,645, despite the official count of 64. That’s 4,645 citizens of the U.S. It’s a disgrace. (Jonathan Bernstein, 5/29)
Puerto Rico And Maria, An American Tragedy
As macabre as such statistics may be, death tolls after natural disasters set the tone for the public’s reaction — and the government’s. One reason Hurricane Katrina struck so hard at the nation’s conscience in 2005 was the shocking number of deaths: That storm killed 1,800 Americans. The public gave more to charity, and expected more from Washington, knowing how much human misery the storm inflicted. That reality makes it important to get those grim facts right. And scandalous when governments — like Puerto Rico’s — get them so drastically wrong. ...Puerto Rico is a part of the United States, and the deaths of 4,645 Americans from a natural disaster is a national tragedy. The Trump administration and Congress need to start treating it that way. (Gerald Herbert, 5/30)
Donald Trump Failed To Help Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria.
When Hillary Clinton was running against Donald Trump in 2016, she boiled down concerns about his temperament to a central question: “Imagine Donald Trump sitting in the Situation Room, making life-or-death decisions on behalf of the United States,” she said. The attack was centered on national security, but the argument went beyond the role of commander in chief to broader questions about Trump’s ability to handle any number of potential crises. How would he react to a public health emergency? How would he deal with a natural disaster? We now have an answer to this question as the scope of devastation from Hurricane Maria becomes more clear. (Jamelle Bouie, 5/30)
The Washington Post:
Trump Is Responsible For Puerto Rico
One wonders how proud Trump is now and whether he realizes a natural disaster — in which he showed far less interest than Houston’s Hurricane Harvey — on his watch had nearly three times as many fatalities as Katrina. Further study is warranted to determine how many of those who died were victims of government negligence in the weeks and even months following Hurricane Maria. (Jennifer Rubin, 5/30)
Trump A 10? No, Say Puerto Rico's 4,600 Dead
Last October, President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico for a photo op, 13 days after Hurricane Maria had ripped across the island, leaving its residents, communities, roadways and power grid in tatters. ...Trump emphasized all that the federal government had done to assist Puerto Rico when he wrapped up his speech. ...On Tuesday the New England Journal of Medicine published a new estimate of the lives lost on Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria: about 4,600. That stands in stark contrast to the 16 deaths the president cited in October, and the official death toll of 64 that the Puerto Rican government has stood by for months. Trump, undaunted, gave himself a “10” when asked by White House reporters to grade the federal response to Hurricane Maria about a month after it first ravaged Puerto Rico. (Timothy L. O'Brien, 5/30)
'We Have Done A Great Job': What Trump Tweeted As Thousands Of Puerto Ricans Died
On Tuesday, researchers at Harvard published a new study showing that the death toll from Hurricane Maria was 75 times higher than what the government had previously reported. By that calculation, it was 290 times higher than the 16 fatalities President Donald Trump himself announced during a visit to the island last year, during a bizarre appearance in which he contrasted the devastation in front of him with “a real catastrophe, like Katrina.” (We now know that Maria was more than twice as deadly as Katrina.) With the exception of the 1900 hurricane that wiped out Galveston, Texas, Maria killed more Americans than any other disaster on record, including the Chicago fire and the San Francisco earthquake. It killed more people than the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Tim Murphy, 5/30)