Donald Trump took aim at former President Barack Obama this week, claiming that his predecessor failed to come to Florida the last time a hurricane hit the state — even though it happened when George W. Bush was still in office.
Trump traveled to the Sunshine State in the wake of Hurricane Irma to survey the damage and pledge help from the federal government. But during a discussion with local residents, Trump couldn’t help but to give a bit of ribbing to one of his most common adversaries.
Bloomberg reporter Alex Wayne noted that a supporter asked the president rhetorically where Obama was during the last hurricane, to which Trump replied “Tell them” and gestured to reporters, insinuating that the media was not hard on Obama for failing to make a visit in the wake of the natural disaster.
But as Wayne pointed out, the last hurricane to land a direct hit on Florida was Hurricane Wilma, which struck during the deadly 2005 hurricane season — during George W. Bush’s fifth year in office.
The flub was picked up by a number of media outlets, including the left-leaning PoliticusUSA which was critical of Trump’s response and quick reaction to blame Obama.
“It is not shocking that Trump who is obsessed with the fact that he lives in Obama’s shadow and can’t measure up to the former president would go right along with his supporter’s ignorant attempt to bash the former president. One gets the sense that Trump isn’t in Florida because he cares about the victims of the hurricane, but he is there because he wants good TV coverage and he is still trying to be taken seriously as a president.”
Trump supporter in FL: where was Obama after last hurricane?
Trump: "Tell them," gestures @ reporters.
Last hurricane to hit FL: Wilma, 2005
— Alex Wayne (@aawayne) September 14, 2017
Donald Trump has sparked some other controversy in the wake of Hurricane Irma. During his visit, Trump praised the low death total for the storm, even though a total of 70 people lost their lives in the Caribbean and the United States, the New York Daily News noted.
“People thought thousands and thousands of people may have their lives ended, and it’s a very small number,” Trump said.
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) September 15, 2017
Diminishing their deaths, marketing his own hats – what's next?
— Shareblue Media (@Shareblue) September 14, 2017
Trump was similarly criticized for his statements in the wake of Hurricane Harvey when it struck Texas last month. As Vox pointed out, Trump seemed to shift into his campaign rally mode when speaking to refugees at a shelter in Corpus Christi, telling the assembled people, “What a crowd, what a turn out.”
While he may have only been a U.S. Senator when the last hurricane hit Florida, Barack Obama did play a role in helping Hurricane Irma relief efforts this time around. As Politico noted, he and the other surviving former presidents issued a joint call for donations in a video released last week.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]