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Trump holds a televised circle jerk in San Juan

Trump holds a circle jerk in San Juan

by digby


He seems to think Hurricane Maria just hit last Monday:

All of a sudden, we said there is another one heading to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, but it wasn't one, it was two. I was going to be here a week ago, if you remember. That was the day of the hurricane. That was the day of the second hurricane.

That's just not true. The hurricane hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday September 20th, two weeks ago tomorrow.

He lies about everything, why not this?

Basically, he convened a meeting of local officials and then sat at a table and patted himself on the back and then complimented al the people who work for him and allowed some of the locals to tell him how wonderful he and all the federal officials had been. It was a circle jerk.

Here's how Vox characterized it:

President Donald Trump met with local leaders and federal responders shortly after landing at an Air Force base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, for what was supposed to be a briefing on the situation on the island.

Instead, Trump turned it into an opportunity to congratulate himself and the federal government's response to the disaster and to say the island should be “very proud” of its low official death count.

He downplayed throughout his remarks how dire things are in Puerto Rico, where more than half of the people don't have power, running water, or cellphone service two weeks after Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, tore through the island.

"We have gone all out for Puerto Rico," Trump said during the televised briefing Tuesday. "It's not only dangerous, it's expensive."

And while Puerto Rico clearly needs much more aid — including help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair its damaged infrastructure — Trump decided to focus on how much money it had already spent.

"I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you are throwing our budget out of whack," he said. "We've spent a lot of money in Puerto Rico."

(As I explain here, FEMA has yet to authorize full disaster aid for Puerto Rico).

The most uncomfortable part of Trump's remarks came when he began to compare Puerto Rico to Hurricane Katrina based on how many people had died, implying what was happening in Puerto Rico wasn’t a “real catastrophe.”

“If you look at the — every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds of people that died and what happened here with a storm that was just totally overbearing. No one has ever seen anything like that. What is your death count?" he said.

"Sixteen," responded Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

"Sixteen certified," Trump said, and then told the leaders assembled that they should all be "very proud."

The reality is that the death count is far higher, as my colleague Eliza Barclay has noted. The situation is so bad in Puerto Rico that the government can't even issue death certificates to count the deceased.


But hey, it's going great.


Update: Oh. My. God.