Did President Trump Act Immature and Rude When Visiting Puerto Rico?

Talia Baranowski, Contributing writer

Puerto Rico was hit with Hurricane Maria almost two months ago, and is still struggling to get back to normal due to the damage. President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico on Oct. 3 to address the issue and attempt to help the island regain strength. However, his trip was not all that it was hyped up to be. In fact, it did the opposite. Not only was he vulgar, but he was also inconsiderate of the citizens’ feelings.  

On Jan. 20, 2017 Donald Trump was inaugurated as president of the United States. Many people like journalist Michelle Goldberg rank Trump as one of the worst presidents we [the United States] has ever had. Goldberg, in the article “An Unfit President Fails Puerto Rico” states that Trump is ” a nasty showbiz huckster whose own staffers speak of him as if he were a malevolent toddler.” Commentators on CNN have said it is a shock we have survived the eight months with Trump as president.  

Puerto Rico is black; it is pitch black. Reporters have stated that there will not be power for the next six months to a year. Imagine waking up and it is dark; you have to go to the bathroom but you cannot see where you are going. You end up falling and tripping over furniture you can’t see. The ear-piercing music of the coquís [native Puerto Rican frog] is now a distant hum since most of them have drowned, died of starvation, and had their homes washed away. The chickens that were across the street don’t come to your door for food, and the roosters don’t wake you up anymore because they are all gone; Hurricane Maria washed them away like the quenepas [Spanish lime] that had fallen off the trees from the wind.  

I have family in Puerto Rico, specifically Adjuntas, Ponce, San Juan, Utuado, and Peñuelas. After I heard that the hurricane was so destructive I rushed to the phone to call them. It took hours to get through due to the fact that the phone lines had been impacted by the storm, and everyone was on them calling loved ones. There was instrumental music playing until some beeping started and static began to crawl in my ear while the phone tried to connect. When about two hours had passed, I finally connected to Domingo Pietri, my great uncle, and Carmen Pietri, my great aunt in Adjuntas. They explained their daily routine now that there is no power and the supplies on the island are limited.

Great-uncle Pietri says he wakes up around four o’clock to drive to the bank and take out cash for the day [the island only takes cash since there is no power]. He then goes to the gas station and fills up a gas container to bring home to fill the generator. The generator is only connected to the stove and television. His wife, my great-aunt, cooks all day and tries to preserve the groceries that Mr. Pietri brings back since there is no refrigerator. They say they are not struggling as much as the younger generations on the island. The young people on the island have never been without electronics and power. They can’t even go to school. Everyone is scared out of their minds. Questions have arisen like, “Will I have to stay back a grade?” “How will I pay for my house when my workplace has been destroyed/ out of business?” and “How can I get immediate medical attention when everyone is hurt?”  

On Oct. 3, when President Trump visited the U.S. territory, his attitude was unbothered. He seems disinterested and absent minded while giving his speech to islanders and, like his personality most of the time, he seemed a bit angry as well. An article from the New York Times detailed that a woman was holding a sign that said, “You are a bad hombre,” and held it up as Trump walked by. Calling President Trump a bad man hints at the fact he is in over his head.  There have been 34 deaths related to the storm and instead of spreading his condolences for the island’s grief, he tossed rolls of paper towels into the crowd as if Hurricane Maria was just a little puddle the island was over-reacting about.  

Puerto Ricans claimed that the victims of Texas and Florida got more support than they did, and when this criticism came to Trump’s eyes, he decided to tweet about it. He called Puerto Ricans lazy, and said that they wanted everything to be done for them. Then Trump decided to attack the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, and say she does not know anything about leadership. Trump should not have said that; especially during this sensitive time. It hurt many citizens’ feelings and created drama. Trump did not know how to respond to the island, and made the situation worse by his obsessive tweeting and childish actions — in turn creating a bad impact on the citizens of Puerto Rico. Mrs. Pietri is actually “scared of President Trump and how he will handle future predicaments. In the words of Lewis S. Mills freshman Meghan Grzegorzek, “Good luck Puerto Rico, we are all rooting for you.”