Is the Trump Administration Prepared for Hurricane Florence?
Hurricane Florence is due to hit the eastern Carolinas on Friday as a Category 3 or 4 storm. 1.5 million coastal residents have been ordered to evacuate as part of the government’s ongoing preparations. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last year, the Trump administration’s response was criticized as a failure. While the president now maintains that his administration is “totally prepared” for Florence, many are concerned that he hasn’t yet learned the lessons of Hurricane Maria.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed that his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, last year’s devastating storm that killed nearly 3,000 people in Puerto Rico, was an “incredible unsung success.” [.] The Trump administration’s relief efforts were visibly slower in Puerto Rico compared with those in Texas after Hurricane Harvey that season, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency taking twice as much time to deliver some supplies to the territory. Trump himself created several controversial moments, such as hurling paper towels at storm survivors in Puerto Rico and saying the island didn’t endure a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina. The official death toll from that storm hit nearly 3,000 last month — a dramatic increase from the earlier official count of 64.
Racism, statehood, incompetence—Hurricane Maria offered up a buffet of options for failure, all leading to a tepid, disgraceful response and nearly three thousand dead Americans. A 9/11’s worth of death, but no Hurricane Patriot Act or Forever War on Climate Change even remotely under discussion. Instead, only the feeble breath of a government apparently comfortable abdicating any responsibility to govern.
Already this year, the Trump EPA has rolled back limits on emissions on vehicles and coal-fired power plants, two major sources of greenhouse gases. This completes the administration’s trifecta of climate ignorance. And doing so as the Southeast faces such an ominous threat rises above chutzpah into something Nero-like in its lack of caring for the possible suffering of Americans. Perhaps if the Outer Banks had a Trump resort like his Aberdeenshire golf course in Scotland, where climate-related flooding has already become a problem, the White House might be taking the East Coast threat more seriously — or, more importantly, taking the causes of this threat more seriously.