Was Trump really insulting Puerto Rico?

Screen shot from USA TODAY's YouTube video: Trump compares Puerto Rico to Katrina, 'a real catastrophe'

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While President Trump was in Puerto Rico, he commented that the damage caused by Hurricane Maria could have been much worse. The comment was made in comparison to the results of Hurricane Katrina. The response to his comment is two fold. Some people think he was being dismissive of the people of Puerto Rico, while others felt he was attempting to congratulate them on a job well done considering things could have been much worse.

First, let’s establish that both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Maria were catastrophic. We could talk about the hundreds of billions of dollars in damage that both caused, or the hundreds of thousands of homes that were destroyed. We could talk about how both left thousands of people homeless, and both were behind the tragic loss of life. These things are not in dispute, but which was worse is arguable and dependent on your perspective. In terms of statistics, we don’t have a full count of the total damage amassed in Puerto Rico yet, so that argument needs to be tabled for now. What we can debate is President Trump’s intention behind his comments. Was he insulting Puerto Ricans, or was he complimenting them?

Those who think he is insulting Puerto Rico and minimizing the damage to that island have their reasons. For one, his attacks on the mayor of San Juan certainly make him appear indifferent to Puerto Rico. Also, with the ICE round ups and attempts at travel bans, many people have developed a negative perception of him when it comes to dealing with minorities. Throw in the problems in the relief effort to Puerto Rico and the president’s detractors see him as being dismissive of the damage caused by Maria.

The president’s supporters see a man giving the people of Puerto Rico a pat on the back. He is not dismissing them, he is praising them. His supporters are also quick to point out the sheer differences in the number of lives lost in both hurricanes. Although we do not have a final count for Puerto Rico, it seems as though Katrina was the deadlier of the two, claiming some 1800 plus lives. This certainly supports the idea that President Trump was really just trying to be matter of fact.

The Issue

Shall we give the President the benefit of the doubt that he was not trying to be insulting, but rather stating what he saw was the simple truth and being congratulatory to the people of Puerto Rico?

Yes, Trump was being insulting:

No, Trump was just speaking the truth:

What do you think? Was Trump being insulting to Puerto Rico when he compared the damage there to that sustained by Hurricane Katrina?

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