Trump causes Hurricane Maria conference call storm

Donald Trump has insulted the people of Puerto Rico again, with a conference call invite at the heart of this latest controversy.

The US President has been at it again – hot on the heels of throwing paper towels at survivors of Hurricane Maria, as if they were prize winners in a raffle, and his outright weird press conference addressing the people of Puerto Rico, come this latest controversy involving a White House conference call.

Trump’s conference call storm

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico hard – the category five storm lashed the island and other parts of the Northeastern Caribbean with sustained wind speeds in excess of 156mph, causing 81 deaths, 36 of which were in Puerto Rico.

Trump’s paper towel tombola

Trump’s insincere message to Puerto Rico

Trump touched down in Puerto Rico last Tuesday – to give that strange press conference and hand out the towels – but Carmen Yulin Cruz, the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, says she had not been given any information on what he planned to do upon his arrival, or even if he was going to meet with her to discuss the humanitarian disaster that had unfolded.

And to make matters worse, before Trump left for the island, the Mayor was invited to ‘participate’ in a conference call with top White House officials responsible for marshalling the response to Hurricane Maria – bur she was told she could only listen, and would not be allowed to say anything to contribute to the call.

The White House confirmed that it had been in touch with Ms Yulin Cruz the day before Trump’s departure for Puerto Rico, to invite her to take part in a teleconference led by Tom Bossert, the president’s Homeland Security advisor, who was looking for ways to improve the federal emergency response.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, said: “Our focus is to bring the mayor into the coordination efforts. This administration, as well as other members on the ground, have reached out to her. We hope that she will join with us in those efforts and be a part of things. She’s been invited to participate in the events tomorrow, as well. And we hope that those conversations will happen and we can all work together to move forward.”

But Ms Yulin Cruz has revealed that the conversation with Mr Bossert and other officials hadn’t turned out like that at all, and was never intended to, saying: “I was invited to participate in a conference via a text. I did. When I went into the call it said you are allowed in a listening capacity only…so I listened.”

This is just the latest example of Trump’s contemptuous treatment of the people of Puerto Rico, who had suggested that  the impact of Maria was partly the fault of Puerto Rico for falling huge financial debt  – the island officially declared itself bankrupt earlier this year – and that its people were lazy, saying in one Tweet “They want everything done for them”.

Ms Yulin Cruz feels the Trump adminstration doesn’t reflect the true values of the US and its people, she said: “I know how the America people are good-hearted people, they are friendly people, they are courageous people who when they see someone who needs their help they run to them. And and I think that the Trump administration really doesn’t reflect those values, by tweeting that we should have paid our debt, by tweeting that we want everything done by others, by tweeting that we are ingrates.”

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