Twitter Trolls Trump's Promise of 'Unwavering Support' for Tornado Victims
|thenorthstar||Mar 6, 2019|
President Donald Trump has pledged “unwavering support” to rebuild areas in Alabama that were hit by Sunday’s devastating tornado outbreak, which killed at least 24 people. Parts of Florida and Georgia were also affected.
“Sending our love and prayers to the people of Alabama. Incredible state, incredible people,” Trump said Monday at a White House lunch gathering with the Football Championship Subdivision champions — the North Dakota State Bison. "We grieve by your side and we pledge our unwavering support to help you rebuild from the very depths of this horrible tragedy."
The president said in a tweet that he ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to offer Alabama an “A plus treatment,” and added that he and Governor Kay Ivey are “working closely with FEMA.” But according to USA Today, it’s unclear what type of “treatment” the state will receive. On Sunday evening, the president issued a warning via Twitter to residents in Alabama and neighboring areas. “Please be careful and safe. Tornadoes and storms were truly violent and more could be coming. To the families and friends of the victims, and to the injured, God bless you all!”
As the president expressed his immediate support for the tornado victims, other Twitter users were quick to remind Trump about the administration’s delayed response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico almost two years ago, as well as the lack of federal fund distribution to cities and states that are prone to natural disasters or extreme weather.
“Too bad you weren’t this helpful to California and Puerto Rico. You are slime,“ author Jeffrey Guterman tweeted. Last November, the president blamed California’s forest management for the wildfires that razed areas of the southern state: “Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” he tweeted at the time.
Another Twitter user wrote: “Those folks in Alabama and Georgia may not even realize that they won't get the #FEMA relief they COULD have gotten after you raided it to put toward that wall Mexico was supposed to pay for #AlabamaTornado.” “I believe this as much as you're SUPPOSED to be helping Puerto Rico rebuild...and aren't. Empty promises,” another Twitter user wrote.
“Is Trump going to Alabama & Georgia to throw fast food at survivors?” one person tweeted, referencing the infamous image of the president throwing paper towels at Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico.
“So sorry for the people of Alabama. Maybe the president can tell them that they need to build bigger and stronger houses like he told the people of California we should rake our forests to prevent wildfires I’m glad he’s on top of this!” another Twitter user said. When natural disasters hit Texas and Puerto Rico in 2017, Trump rated his federal response an “A plus,” and added that he thought that efforts following Maria’s aftermath “was one of the best jobs that’s ever been with respect to what this is all about.” However, weeks after María, only one in 10 Puerto Ricans had electricity, and thousands of them were dying as a result—making María the deadliest disaster in American history.
“I believe Puerto Rico is a stain for FEMA and Trump’s reputation, because the world was able to see the lack of humanity, solidarity, compassion and service of an administration that could have helped us but decided not to,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, one of Trump’s staunch critics following Trump’s handling of the María crisis, said in an interview a year after the disaster. “Puerto Ricans will never erase from their memory images of Trump throwing paper towels.”
A Bloomberg report found in January that the administration “is sitting on billions of dollars” that were allocated for states and cities to prepare ahead of natural disasters. The White House has not released rules telling states how to apply the $16 billion Congress approved for disaster preparedness. “We cannot afford to wait any longer,” said Texas General Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
Last month, reports indicated that Trump was allegedly considering shifting Puerto Rico’s disaster funds to build the $5 billion border wall, prompting a harsh rebuke from Puerto Rican officials. “Taking $ from disaster areas to pay for a wall is the egotistical response of a man who gets his way or brings everyone down,” Cruz tweeted in January.
On February 14, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló said he would take legal action should Trump ask US citizens to pay for the wall in the event of a national emergency declaration. "Is it now Puerto Rico and California (American Citizens) that will pay for the wall?" Rosselló tweeted. "If this is the case, we’ll see you in court."
About the Author
Robert Valencia is the breaking news editor for The North Star. His work as editor and reporter appeared on Newsweek, World Politics Review, Mic.com, Public Radio International and The Miami Herald, among other outlets. He's a frequent commentator on foreign affairs and U.S. politics on Al Jazeera English, CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, Voice of America, C-SPAN, Sirius XM and other media outlets across Latin America and the Caribbean.