Donald Trump has been deservedly sliced, diced, and julienned for his outrageous Twitter attack on the people of Puerto Rico on Saturday. He claimed that if 3.4 million people actually want help from their government when their infrastructure has been destroyed, they expect “everything to be done for them.” He also believes that San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz was being “nasty” by daring to call out Trump for dragging his feet in sending help.
In so doing, he once again acted less like the president he is supposed to be and more like the self-absorbed one-percenter that he really is. The smackdown continued on Sunday, when Ana Navarro tore Trump apart for his so-called response to the tragedy on the island.
During a panel discussion on CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper asked Navarro for her thoughts on Trump’s attacks on Puerto Ricans. Watch here.
Navarro, a charter member of the “never-Trump” club, called out Trump’s tweets for what they were–“unconscionable” and “unacceptable.” She seemed particularly appalled by Trump’s attacks on Cruz. After all, all Cruz was doing was “voicing the frustration, the anger, the desperation of the people of Puerto Rico.” Those feelings extend to the mainland as well; Navarro has talked to a number of Puerto Ricans who live on the mainland, and they have yet to hear from their families on the island.
In contrast to how officials at the federal and state level responded to Hurricane Irma as it churned toward Florida, Navarro described the response to Maria in Puerto Rico as “slow” and “inadequate,” especially considering the state of affairs on the ground.
“This is an island where people cannot evacuate. They were in terrible distress to begin with. They needed more. It should not have taken days and days for the USS Comfort to make its way there. It should not have taken a public campaign for the Jones Act to be reversed so that shipping could go there. There’s been so many things.”
Navarro was referring to the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, which only allows goods to be carried between points in the United States if they are carried on vessels that are built, owned, and operated by Americans. Puerto Ricans, as well as mainlanders, pressed for a waiver in order to make it easier to get badly-needed supplies to the island. After initially refusing to waive the act due to supposed objections from shipping interests, Trump backed down on Thursday.
From where Navarro was sitting, Trump might have seen reason a lot sooner if he wasn’t trying to get NFL owners to turf players who kneeled during the national anthem, or if he was trying to help Luther Strange win the Republican Senate primary in Alabama. Instead, Navarro says, Trump should have been “laser-focused on the 3.4 million American citizens” in Puerto Rico.
Former Trump campaign senior adviser Michael Caputo–on whose word Trump is apparently relying for claims that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia–claimed that the problem with Puerto Rico was the lack of “unity of command.” While half of the island now has access to clean water and groceries, the more mountainous areas still have a rough time of it. For that reason, he believes that it’s “political” to criticize the response at this stage in the game.
Navarro was having none of it. She thought that if “unity of command” was the issue, Trump needed to get off his phone–especially considering that he was in “a gold, inlaid golf course” at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City while Cruz was “wading through water up to her chest” trying to help rescue people.
Former South Carolina state representative Bakari Sellers agreed that Trump should have been focused on Puerto Rico. He quoted a report in The Washington Post that suggested Trump didn’t get any briefings about Puerto Rico for at least four days. Sellers also mused that considering the numerous dog whistles Trump has blown over the last few years, Trump’s suggestion that Puerto Ricans are somehow “lazy” is very telling.
Caputo claimed that suggesting there was a racial undercurrent to that tweet was “a partisan attack.” That was too much for Navarro.
“It takes such an unspeakable level of gall for Donald Trump to say that the people of Puerto Rico want everything done for them. This is a guy who dodged the draft when other people fought that war. This is a guy who’s had his properties taken out of bankruptcy by other people, including the people of Puerto Rico. This is a guy who is sitting in a fancy golf course while people in Puerto Rico are dying. And he’s going to say from that perch that that people of Puerto Rico who we see trying all day to get a little food, a little water, a little ice want everything done for them?!”
Navarro was even more outraged when she saw Trump was spending the day at the Presidents Cup golf tournament at Liberty National.
Golfer-in-Chief spending day in golf tournament at his country club, has gall to attack ppl fighting for survival in 🇵🇷. Not making this up. pic.twitter.com/vuSqxzYnp6
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) October 1, 2017
So first Trump is fixated with bullying NFL players, then he’s playing golf rather than doing what any president worth his salt should be doing. You’re not the only one who’s incredulous, Ana.
Trump thinks that Cruz was being a nasty woman for daring to call him out. After this, it’s not out of line to conclude the so-called response to this tragedy is really what’s nasty.
(featured image courtesy Navarro’s Facebok)