The “leader of the free world” had a decision to make yesterday, and as always, made the one that benefited the leader of the free world.
On the same day as an unprecedented natural disaster occurred in one of “his” states, he opted to attend one of his pep rallies rather than monitor the situation—one that more than likely will eventually involve FEMA, the National Guard, and a plethora of aid organizations. And when I said his states, I meant one of fifty, not a red one.
As I’m writing this the sun is rising on the Florida panhandle. News reports last night warned that only daylight would illustrate the full scope of the horror. There are already photos on the wire—towns that resemble those which have been devastated by tornados. Towns that may never be rebuilt. We’re not used to that here in the states: Katrina, Sandy, last year’s Harvey, and the recent Florence all displayed the relentless power of water. This was all of that, but different: this was shrieking, howling, devastating wind—it was equivalent to an F-2 tornado sitting over your town for an hour or two.
[Note: An F2 tornado produces winds of 113-157 m.p.h producing “Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars overturned; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated; cars lifted off ground.”]
Of course Puerto Rico experienced this last year with Maria. Puerto Ricans know what it was like to face a disaster in the Trump presidency. It’s a roll of paper towels and a basket of thoughts and prayers.
Of course Trump’s enablers will counter by asking “what could Trump have done at the height of the storm? Go there and get in the way?” Of course not, but how about a national broadcast, a reassurance to the victims and to us that their government was “on this.” Even if power was out and those suffering the most would not have heard him, their relatives would have, and there would have been a sense among all the rest of us that things were going to be okay.
He could have been Reagan after the Challenger disaster; Clinton after Oklahoma City, Bush after 9/11, Obama after Newtown. It’s what presidents do. Instead he was Trump after everything from Charlottesville to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
He chose to drown our sorrows in his pep rally, at which he deigned thoughts and prayers for the victims and assured his crowd of myrmidons that he would be heading to Florida.
We can only hope it’s not a stop in Panama City and Mexico Beach on his way to the first tee at Mar-a-Lago.