Carmelo Anthony is getting political.
The NBA star took on the Trump administration in an interview, blasting their response — or lack thereof — after Hurricane Maria devastate the island of Puerto Rico. As CNN noted, Anthony’s statements came during an interview on The Van Jones Show, and he didn’t mince words.
Anthony said that the U.S. government turned their back on the Americans living in Puerto Rico, where millions were without power or essentials like food or medicine for weeks, sometimes months. As Vox noted, there are some people who have only gotten power back within the last few weeks.
“It hurt… they’re American citizens,” Anthony said, adding that the pain for him was personal given that his father was born in Puerto Rico. “It was… a low blow, to me and to all of the Puerto Ricans down there, because we can’t control Hurricane Maria,” he added.
Anthony led his own relief effort, organizing supplies that were sent to Puerto Rico, but they were hit with frustrating complications and it took a lot of effort to finally deliver it to the people in need.
“Puerto Rico is part of this country and I just felt like the government completely turned their back, you know, to their island,” Anthony said.
Though he may not be as vocal as some of the NBA’s more activist players, Anthony has not shied away from political statements. In 2016, he took to Instagram to call on fellow athletes to use their voice to exert pressure on politicians to make real changes.
Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico have suffered enough. I joined my colleagues on a bill to help get the territory back on their feet. https://t.co/az2qbUIGdg— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 28, 2018
The statements came after a series of high-profile incidents in which unarmed black men were killed by police and a series of attacks on police officers that left several dead.
“We need each other. These politicians have to step up and fight for change,” Anthony wrote. “I’m calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change. There’s NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge.”
Carmelo Anthony is not the only one calling out the Trump administration for the lack of a proper response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. Many others have criticized Trump for responding to hurricanes in Florida and Texas but not devoting the same resources to Puerto Rico.