Donald Trump is under fire this weekend for retreating to his luxury golf resort in New Jersey while the situation in Puerto Rico grows increasingly worse, with critics saying Trump is purposely ignoring the growing humanitarian crisis on the American territory.
Trump is spending the weekend at the Trump National Golf Court in Bedminster, which the Independent noted is the 67th day of his presidency spent at a golf course and the 87th at one of his Trump properties. While Trump has continually taken criticism for the time he spends on the golf course — especially after Trump’s frequent attacks on Barack Obama when his predecessor would go golfing, which came at a far less frequent pace than Trump’s golf trips — this weekend the attacks have been especially sharp given the chaos unfolding in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Donald Trump had already spent much of the week issuing controversial statements regarding the crisis in Puerto Rico, appearing to blame the territory for its large debt. Trump also came under fire for the slow response, with the president also spending last weekend at his golf resort and not holding a high-level cabinet meeting regarding Puerto Rico until Tuesday, five days after the storm made landfall. In the wake of the hurricane, the island’s infrastructure has been devastated and six people have died, with reports that the death toll is likely to continue climbing due to lack of food, water, and critically needed medical supplies.
That led local leaders to speak out against Trump, including San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who made a public plea for help.
“I will do what I never thought I was going to do. I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency,” she said (via The Hill).
That led Trump to fire back over the weekend, calling the mayor an ineffective leader.
But that led to an even bigger backlash against Donald Trump, with many pointing out that the president remained holed up at his luxury golf course while Puerto Ricans were desperately trying to rebuild after the devastating storm took out power for the entire island.
Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, who has become one of Trump’s biggest critics in the media, noted the president’s decision to spend the weekend at the resort rather than helping Puerto Rico.
Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, who became something of a hero for his role in restoring order and leading recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, took a similar attack on the president. Speaking to CNN, Honore defended the work San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz was doing and criticized Trump’s golf resort weekend.
“The mayor’s living on a cot, and I hope the President has a good day at golf,” Honore said.
Donald Trump continues to draw criticism for his response to Puerto Rico, including his indecision on whether to issue an emergency declaration that would open up more federal funding and commit to rebuilding Puerto Rico’s destroyed infrastructure. Trump issued a similar declaration in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, but has not said if he will do the same for Puerto Rico.
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