No, Donald Trump is not once again tossing paper towels at Puerto Ricans. No, he is not “tirando flores” (complimenting) the people on the island. He’s using the power of his office to again threaten the lives and well-being of the 3.2 million American citizens who live on the island.
Why? Because he is a racist, vindictive bully. Why? Because he can. Impeached, but not removed from office, he has wasted no time going back to his favorite sport (other than golf): threatening and bullying Puerto Rico. His vendetta continues unchecked, and unrestrained.
As the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, Trump continues to hold the island’s aid package hostage.
The White House issued a veto threat Wednesday over a $4.7 billion emergency aid package intended to help Puerto Rico recover from a series of damaging earthquakes.
The statement came ahead of a vote planned for Friday in the Democratic-controlled House to pass the aid package.
It’s the latest in a series of confrontations between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats over disaster assistance to Puerto Rico. The U.S. territory is still waiting on billions of dollars approved by Congress for recovery from Hurricane Maria more than two years ago, though the administration recently agreed to release some of the money subject to several conditions.
The House is scheduled to hold a vote, but there is no guarantee that the Republican quislings in the Senate will buck Trump when the bill arrives in its chamber. Should Congress pass more aid legislation, Trump can do what he does best: Kill the bill, since he has no problem taking actions that kill people. We’ve seen it happen already.
Julio Ricardo Varela, also writing for the Washington Post, laments that ”This is an exhausting time to be Puerto Rican.”
The little hope Puerto Ricans had from a historic 2019 summer — when a sitting governor dramatically left office — has vanished just six months later. The tangible belief in a political transformation that would elevate the U.S. territory to a place where it would finally be taken seriously has disappeared and bowed to the status quo reality: a dazed and confused island-colony still searching for purpose and respect in a post-Hurricane Maria world.
What can we do, to assist Puerto Rico, beyond continuing to support charities that are helping Puerto Ricans survive?
There is a solution. Not only do we need to put a Democrat in the White House, we need to control the Senate and maintain our majority in the House.
We must hit the bullies where it hurts—at the ballot box.