Presidents traditionally undertake a host of activities to set their citizens at ease during times of crisis. Franklin Delano Roosevelt held his fireside chats. President John F. Kennedy gave patriotic speeches extolling American courage and expressing ebullient optimism about the national spirit and its role in service to our country. President Donald J. Trump threw out the towels.
A week and a half after the disastrous hurricane had blown through and people were beginning to trickle out of storm shelters the President and his First Lady paid a hurried visit to the Enchanted Island. They brought along several cartons of toilet paper and paper towels. Bounty is the quicker-perker-upper you know. What better way to perk up the spirits of the embattled natives than to toss them paper towels? To be perfectly frank, vacuum cleaners wouldn’t have done the trick. Power was still out all over the island. Besides you can’t go around tossing vacuum cleaners at your unincorporated territorial constituents. It isn’t dignified.
Was President Trump a little slow on the uptake following the natural disaster? You be the judge. He didn’t so much as hold a Situation Room Briefing until six days after the island was devastated by wind and rain. Give him his due, though. Throughout the aftermath of the storm President Trump continued to tweet to his faithful followers that we were doing a great job, a tremendous job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Fake News refuses to acknowledge the amazing work that has been done by our Great military and FEMA but I can tell you the people of Puerto Rico love us.
By comparison President Obama, upon hearing of the massive earthquake in Haiti (which scored a seven on the Richter scale), scrambled the military. Eight thousand troops were headed to the island of Hispaniola within two days. For the record neither Haiti nor The Dominican Republic, the two countries who share the island, are U. S. Territories. Twenty-two thousand troops and thirty-two ships arrived in Haiti within two weeks carrying vital supplies. To the best of my knowledge none of them carried paper towels.
Here’s another interesting data point. President Trump’s arch-rival, the dastardly villainous Hillary Clinton, was the first public figure to call for the mobilization of the only hospital ship on the East Coast, the USNS Comfort, four days after Maria made landfall. The ship wasn’t deployed for two more days, didn’t leave port for an additional two days and didn’t reach Puerto Rico until Tuesday, October 3, eleven days after Maria made landfall. The Navy blamed a mix-up in communication for the delay. Although Puerto Rico had piers that routinely serviced cruise ships carrying as many as thirty-five hundred tourists, the Navy didn’t think Puerto Rico could handle a boat as big as theirs. Still, even with all the delays, the hospital ship made it to Puerto Rico the same day as the President and the First Lady flew in on Air Force One.
To his credit, I’m sure President Trump had other fish to fry. September is a busy month for golf.