A True Moment of National Disgrace

On Twitter this morning, stung by criticism, President Trump attacked the people of Puerto Rico, all American citizens, as lazy and disorganized people who “want everything to be done for them.” I am cutting the verbatim text out of the tweets here.

“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”

There’s more. But I don’t think we need to hear more after these words.

Thanks to reporting from the big papers, we now have a general understanding of how this all unfolded. For a critical three or four days after Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, President Trump was away at his New Jersey golf resort, ranting about the NFL and generally not paying attention. It now seems that wasn’t merely a matter of optics and presidential statements. Critical time was lost and things didn’t happen. Once the scope of catastrophe began to become clear, Trump’s inaction began to generate criticism. Once that happened Trump proceeded to fold Puerto Rico into his comfort zone politics of grievance and narcissism. The focus shifted to Puerto Rico’s debt, ingratitude and – finally this morning – laziness and disorganization.

It does not discount or diminish Trump’s penchant for racist awfulness to note that a lot of this doesn’t seem to be by design or, perhaps better to say, forethought. It is more like reflex, in response to his own bumbling. Trump provoked his battle with the NFL out of a mix of personal, racist rage and desire to stoke up his supporters with a new white rights grievance controversy. This seems a little different. His own incompetence and indifference to his job responsibilities generated criticism and led him to make critical mistakes he could not undo. Once that happened, his own personality kicked in. The greased path to narcissistic injury, grievance and racist grievance political attacks was the inevitable reflex. It’s his comfort zone, his natural inclination.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Edblog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: