Hurricane Maria was an unprecedented catastrophe, and we can only blame Trump for this.
On Tuesday night’s rally in Tennessee, Donald Trump once again behaved as usual, like a typical demagogue, in the exact same way as during his electoral campaign. After all, his skills in the field of demagoguery are definitely one of his best specialties. What else could we expect from a man who, before becoming the president of the USA, allows himself to say that migrants coming from Central America are less humane, or that MS-13 members are animals?
Time revealed the extent to which President Trump enjoys playing with the emotions of his people, rather than serving them by solving their problems. One great example of this is the ultimate death toll from Hurricane Maria, which was estimated to be 4,600 deaths (New England Journal of Medicine), of which a majority could have been avoided. Hurricane Maria killed twice as many people as Hurricane Katrina and proved to be the deadliest natural disaster that happened in the USA for more than a hundred years.
What is more confusing is the fact that President Trump’s disdain for Spanish speaking communities is well known. And Hurricane Maria precisely occurred in a Spanish-speaking zone. It is difficult not to allege that Trump’s lack of efforts was linked to cultural factors. The fact that Trump and his team rarely seem to be aware of what they are doing does not help, either.
Moreover, Hurricane Maria was one great occasion for Trump to show us his crisis management skills. Luckily for Trump, Obama left him with a relatively stable country. The economic situation was improving, there had been no terrorist attacks or serious wars recently, the overall socio-economic context was thus positive and favorable to Trump. Hurricane Maria was thus the first real matter in which Trump’s abilities were to be tested. Unfortunately, he did nothing but fail miserably.
Why did Trump fail? First, the situation in Puerto Rico was, indeed, difficult to handle. In fact, the extent of the storm, the local infrastructure, and the economic circumstances of the area are factors that made it difficult to handle the disaster efficiently.
Second, the federal government was clearly not prepared to handle such a storm, which resulted in the supplies and military assets not being appropriately utilized in time.
Third, Trump’s lack of introspective skills did not help as he simply was unable to question himself or the appropriateness of the decisions he initially made in the management of this crisis.
Trump further proved the accurateness of the last statement by blatantly accusing local authorities of not making the necessary efforts themselves and not understanding that crisis management should be a “community effort”. This was perhaps not the best thing to say, knowing that the storm directly killed 64 people while the rest of the people who died, died because they were left without water for 68 days, without electricity for 84 days, and without mobile phone coverage for 41 days.
Hurricane Maria proved Trump’s unfitness for presidency, but the saddest part is that this catastrophe is not the only thing to prove this.