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Trump: Puerto Rico is a Territory
It's Not Appropriate in a Disaster
President Trump's attitude about the Puerto Rican disaster after hurricane Maria is the reason FEMA was not ready for its aftermath. Trump's personal feelings about this quasi- 51st American state and his comments on Twitter are despicable.
Puerto Rico has been in this quasi-American state since 1917. It was in that year the U.S. President legally made all Puerto Rican citizens, then and now, American citizens. But, for some reason, it was NOT given official recognition as an American state status. No doubt, this quasi-state makes the island less than the other 50 states is some way. The same can be said for Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These lesser states can vote in American national elections but since they are not a state (say, like Texas), the U.S. government has less responsibility towards them.
It is a weird situation to be in. However, Puerto Rico every few years vote on whether to become America's 51st state, each time, the residents reject the option. No doubt, the rejection is out of national pride and culture.
So, President Trump's attitude is what it is. But Trump's attitude toward the island is why nothing was done for seven days. Hurricane Maria crushed the island and there were days of build-up prior to Maria hitting the island. It was total negligence and callousness of Trump to deploy necessary men and material in states not impacted by Hurricane Irma, which smashed Florida and skirted PR, a week earlier. Irma surely complicated decisions because of the vast destruction parts of Florida had, but the response to Florida was instant, while with PR, nothing for one week.
Trump gave priority to REAL American states, Texas and Florida, when hurricanes caused vast loss but a low priority to a territory. It is what it is. Trump's comments since playing catch-up using FEMA and National Guard reflect a man who is not going to rebuild PR without some tough financial decisions that may anger PR even more. With everything needing to be rebuilt or restored, costs will be in the billions that Trump does not want to use for a little island that does want to be an American state, but wants all the other benefits. Trump will no doubt try to make a deal that forces PR to repay the U.S. Government, or refuse needed emergency funds that were provided to Texas and Florida. Trump has already complained about the lack of PR cooperation between the Governor and Mayor of San Juan. Trump will try to rescue PR on a shoestring budget- to save money.
This will be a bad legacy that Trump will face in the future, all because of Trump's pathetic attitude toward this American territory.