Hurricane Florence lashed the Carolinas on Friday, killing at least 5 as it roared ashore — and officials warned the worst could be yet to come.
Yet President Trump remained fixated on why he is widely blamed for the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year.
Trump approvingly quoted Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera’s Tweet saying the botched response was not entirely Trump’s fault on Friday night.
pisses me off watching commentators blaming @POTUS for 3000 hurricane related deaths in #PuertoRico these folks Never wrote or reported anything about PR. There is total ignorance or avoidance of fact power grid was in chaos Power Authority bankrupt & corrupt before #Maria hit.— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) September 11, 2018
Trump claims the official death toll of about 3,000 from Maria was inflated to embarrass him. Apparently taking time out from leading the response to Florence, the president Tweeted five separate times about Maria.
“They say all these people died in the storm in Puerto Rico, yet 70% of the power was out before the storm. So when did people start dying? At what point do you recognize that what they are doing is a political agenda couched in the nice language of journalism?” @GeraldoRivera— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2018
Trump insists his response to Maria was an “unsung success” and has spent a good portion of the past few days branding the official death toll fake news and arguing that few died from the storm in Puerto Rico.
Rivera, who claims Puerto Rican as well as Jewish heritage, also suggested that the answer to Puerto Rico’s woes would be statehood, and the power of senators and members of Congress. Trump didn’t comment on that suggestion, which would almost certainly boost Democratic numbers.
What #PuertoRico needs is equality-Statehood-2 Senators-3 or 4 congressfolk-an end to its status as a Step Child in the family of nations— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) September 11, 2018
As Florence Turns Deadly, Trump Tweets Geraldo On Puerto Rico Toll
Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner