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Trump’s Billionaire Cronies Feed at Public Trough as he Disses Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans are drowning or dying in part because the Trump administration watched the hurricane head for the island for five days and did not swing into action to prepare for the aftermath

damage from hurricane maria

Many residents of Puerto Rico remain without electricity, or access to food and clean drinking water. (Photo: Chris Grogan/Air Force Magazine/Flickr)

Trump's petulant tweet storm on Saturday accused Puerto Ricans of wanting everything done for them.

He expressed these sentiments as his secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, was forced to resign for flying around on expensive government airplanes or charters, costing tax payers over $1 million, even though many of these flights could have been replaced by inexpensive train rides or economy seats on civilian airliners.

So who is it again who has things done for him by the Federal government?

The whole point of the Trump cabinet is allow filthy rich groups and individuals to feed at the public trough.

Rick Perry wants artificially to use government to make consumers buy electricity generated by coal and nuclear plants. This is a way of deploying the state to benefit one narrow sliver of the wealthy, while harming everyone else.

Scott Pruitt has turned the Environmental Protection Agency upside down, using it to increase corporate profits by allowing the pollution of public spaces, including the sources of our drinking water.

In contrast, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz has been out in the water with a bullhorn trying to find people still trapped by the flooding.

In trying to portray the 3.4 million Puerto Ricans, all of them U.S. citizens, as welfare queens, Trump in typical fashion used a Reagan cliche so stupidly as to undermine Republican Party ideology. Reagan demeaned the working poor for resorting to the social safety net erected for that purpose. Trump attempted to use the same meme with regard to pure victims.

The Puerto Ricans did not get hit by Maria because they don't know how to save money or because they spend it frivolously. They cannot exploit the system. They are outside the system. They are drowning or dying of hunger and thirst, in part because the Trump administration watched Hurricane Maria head for Puerto Rico for five days and did not swing into action to prepare for the aftermath.

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Juan Cole

Juan Cole

Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His new book, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East (Simon and Schuster), will officially be published July 1st. He is also the author of Engaging the Muslim World and Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East (both Palgrave Macmillan). He has appeared widely on television, radio and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. His weblog on the contemporary Middle East is Informed Comment.

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