Over the weekend, President Trump decided that criticizing Puerto Rico’s leaders during a humanitarian crisis was a good idea — and his implied characterization of San Juan’s mayor, Yulín Cruz, as a “politically motivated ingrate” is already eliciting disastrous consequences.
Previously, Cruz appeared on CNN and delivered an impassioned plea for more help, belying the White House’s pleasant claim that its relief effort has been “really great.” Trump, seemingly undone by Cruz’s completely warranted criticism of his administration’s response to the hurricane, erupted and published more than a dozen tweets attacking her. Now, other Puerto Rican mayors are afraid to voice their need for assistance, fearing the same treatment.
In an interview with The New York Times published on Sunday, Cruz said that many of her counterparts are concerned that if they specify their town’s needs they will be punished:
On Saturday, Ms. Cruz read a text from another city mayor that read “total desperation.” He had no water.
“Some of the mayors that I have been able to reach or have reached me are scared of voicing their concern, because they are concerned if they do, they won’t even get a bottle of water,” she said. “That is a sad situation in a democratic society when fear takes a hold of people, then you know something isn’t working.”
Given that Trump has already assailed her once, surely Cruz means “a recalcitrant despot is terrorizing an already struggling island” when she says “something isn’t working” in a democratic society whose leaders would rather die of dehydration than face his wrath?
But who needs water when you’ve got a golf trophy dedicated to your suffering? No one, according to Trump, whose version of disaster relief is graciously dedicating the President’s Golf Cup to hurricane victims across the U.S. Let them play golf.