Amidst the resurfaced sexual allegations and scandals involving former president Bill Clinton, he is doing something right.
On September 20th, disaster struck. Hurricane Maria devastated the small island of Puerto Rico. For 30 hours, the storm pummeled the island, delivering blows of rain and wind that stretched for 50-60 miles across the island.
One of the main differences between Hurricane Maria and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, is the fact that the latter two hurricanes managed to leave most of the target area’s infrastructure intact, and Hurricane Maria gave no such mercy. The blatant destruction of infrastructure significantly complicates the job of relief workers, as the absence of roads leads to an inability to reach remote areas of the island, let alone to safely house and administer supplies.
The president’s response to this disaster was not what these people needed — and it had very little to do with a damaged infrastructure. While the people of Puerto Rico were reeling from the disaster that had just hit, Trump was waging his Twitter wars against NFL players. When he did manage to clear up his busy Internet schedule enough to visit the island, he threw paper towels at people. After a hurricane. But I’m sure that a roll of Bounty would soak up the water damage of a hurricane.
Trump also helped Puerto Rico by attacking their debt, and the governor of San Juan. Ever since the beginning of the tragedy, relief efforts have been slow to reach the island. The U.S. president has also considered pulling the rug out from under Puerto Ricans by withdrawing relief funding.
To compare the relief efforts of former presidents and Trump, the earthquake that destroyed Haiti in 2010 was met with far better relief efforts than Puerto Rico was. Two days after the tragedy, eight thousand military troops were on their way to Haiti, and within two weeks of the earthquake, 22,000 troops and 33 ships were stationed in Haiti, helping people in need. On the contrary, by two weeks after the hurricane, there was approximately 7,200 military personnel (not troops, just individuals) stationed on the island.
The administration’s response to the hurricane could be the reason why the recovery has been so slow to the island. Once again, former presidents are stealing the stage of disaster relief.
What’s Happening Now:
Although Bill Clinton has recently been the subject of sexual assault allegations, the man does have a nice side. The former president visited Puerto Rico, bringing supplies, taking the time to speak with the residents, and visit health clinics.
He had already shipped 76 tons of medicine and medical equipment to the island, having been donated by the Clinton Foundation. Quite possibly the most important contribution of his was much needed solar energy equipment. Most residents on the island are still living without electricity and clean water, even after two months.
Bill Clinton has his flaws. I’m not aiming to ignore them, but I will say that he’s doing a good job of showing people that he can be a good person. Now, more than ever, the leadership of previous presidents has been extremely impactful on the environment of the U.S.
If only our current president would show that kind of leadership.