I have some specifics in mind, but before I get to that, I want look close at your defense of the “10 of 10”. You suggest that maybe we did everything we could think of, and this was the best response we could muster with the knowledge at the moment. Even if that were true, does that warrant a 10 of 10? Did we learn nothing that we could have improved on for next time? The list of lessons learned from Katrina is huge. Has the PR response been so flawless that we would do the same thing again? If not, then it isn’t a 10 of 10. We already know some imperfections, but Trump is unwilling to do introspection. Worse than that, calling it a 10 of 10, even if it were absolutely accurate, is unkind to the people still suffering in PR. The way he spoke demonstrated a major lack of humility: callous at best and racist at worst. THAT disregard for poor people and minorities that Trump keeps demonstrating was on display in those comments.
Now, let’s get to specifics of things to improve.
A) There has been no call from the White House for any sort of nationwide supply effort. We have 3.5 million citizens going hungry and without water. I was listening to reports yesterday about it taking 8 hours standing in line to get one meal a day, because there is no other food available than what FEMA is handing out because so many supply chains are cut. We are a country that once executed a Marshall Plan to feed Berlin — ~2.5 million people in 1940s. Our tech is way more advanced, and the Soviet blockade made it pretty much identical to getting to an island. Do we have any sort of massive troop movements to do airdrops of supplies?
B) Did Trump contact Musk at Tesla or Page at Google and ask whether they had any hi-tech ideas for fixing the power grid? No. They contacted Puerto Rico. This is just one example to highlight an absence of action: I don’t see Trump doing *anything* proactive to drive the actions on the ground. He’s completely passive and not pushing his org (FEMA and rest of government) to do better. Trump is not innovating! He does not seek innovation!
C) Trump’s comments repeatedly show a lack of awareness. From calling Katrina a worse disaster to referencing a conversation with “the president of Virgin Islands” when he meant “governor” (as corrected by the White House own transcripts) — Trump keeps showing he doesn’t know what’s going on. I don’t know of any organization where that kind of cluelessness wouldn’t translate down the chain of command.
D) Trump has pulled the nation’s eyeballs off of Puerto Rico. When the whole NFL thing flared up, a good president’s response would be, “We can talk about that later. For now, what are we doing about Puerto Rico?” Trump has cut the urgency and even downplayed the seriousness. That is hurting fundraising efforts.
E) Trump has done nothing to push Congress on the Puerto Rico bankruptcy issue. The long-term recovery of the island depends on fixing the crushing debt down there. But is that a priority for this president? Nope. Not a word about it, not in speeches, not in the ever important Twitter feed.
F) Trump has gotten into fights with the local leaders. I don’t have boots on the ground, so I don’t know which side is right, but when the people on the ground say, “We can see that your people aren’t responding correctly,” a leader’s response (hell, a sales manager’s response!) is “We’ll look into that immediately,” not, “You’re full of crap, what a partisan!”
So, yeah, I think there’s a lot of specifics that he and the government that he leads can be doing better for Puerto Rico.