The situation in Puerto Rico remains catastrophic in the wake of Hurricane Maria, but Donald Trump’s visit on Tuesday seemed to yield very little insight for the president into the life-or-death nature of the ongoing crisis.
Here’s just one exchange, reported by the Washington Post on Wednesday, that stunningly captures just how little Trump grasps about what it’s like to be an American citizen who’s been without food, water, or electricity, or all three, for two weeks. Read it in full:
The church is also distributing water purification kits, and a member explained the process to the president.
“Wait,” Trump said, “you put it in dirty water?”
“And then you can drink it after 10 to 12 hours,” she explained.
“Would you do it? Would you drink it?” he asked.
“Sure,” she said.
“Really?” Trump said, a disgusted look coming across his face.
“Really,” she said.
“Is this your company or something?” Trump asked the woman, seeming suspicious of the aggressive pitch.
“No,” she said, “I’m part of the church.”
Yes, drinking dirty water in the wake of a massive natural disaster sure is gross. Some things that are worse: Congress taking its sweet time on an aid package to rebuild the island; Trump hesitating on whether to temporarily roll back an archaic shipping rule expressly created to pad the pockets of corporate America; and the president himself chucking rolls of paper at a crowd of desperate Puerto Ricans like he’s competing in a one-man celebrity free throw contest.
A 74-year-old woman waiting in line for gas said: “I don’t know what this thing is about Trump, who’s Trump? I still don’t have any water.”
“And my insulin is on ice,” she added.
Until that’s no longer the case, nothing Trump says—or tweets—to the contrary carries any weight at all.