As President Trump prepares to visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday, a leaked memo shows that Tom Bossert, Trump’s top adviser in the Department of Homeland Security, was preparing for the administration to blame any problems in the wake of Hurricane Maria on others as a way of avoiding responsibility for their tepid response.
Axios obtained a copy of the Bossert memo, which specifically noted that the White House would:
“Start a theme of recovery planning for the bright future that lies ahead for Puerto Rico. Planned hits, tweets, tv bookings and other work will limit the need for reactionary efforts.”
Bossert also made a point of writing that the administration would not allow anyone to try and point the finger at them for their halfhearted relief efforts:
“The storm caused these problems, not our response to it. We have pushed about as much stuff and people through a tiny hole in as short a timeframe as possible.”
In keeping with the memo, Fox News saluted and began a process of character assassination against local leaders, branding San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz a “far left” radical and even having Fox correspondent Geraldo Rivera comment from the scene of the devastation that he didn’t see any people dying.
Meanwhile, spokespeople for the White House have repeatedly circulated false reports that Mayor Cruz refused to attend strategy sessions with FEMA officials in Puerto Rico. In response, the mayor’s office said she has been at all of the FEMA meetings and that bureaucratic snafus by the federal government are to blame for the situation on the island.
Also on Sunday, the Pentagon seemed to contradict the official administration line on relief efforts in Puerto Rico, issuing a memorandum which stated that half the people on the island are without access to clean water and that the situation was growing more dire by the day.
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