It is generally expected, during times of national disaster, that neighboring countries who have not suffered from the same disaster will offer aid to overcome the threat of an imminent humanitarian crisis. This is a statement of basic decency, and also pragmatic; every nation will at some point suffer such disasters, and several nations working together can offer more resources, and faster, for dealing with an unexpected crisis that threatens to leave hundreds of thousands or even millions of people without food, water, or medical care as teams rush to repair the infrastructure that provides those things. It is not mere compassion, but self-interest: each nation benefits from having the help of others during those times of crisis.
But let’s focus on the basic decency part.
While authorities scrambled to dig victims from rubble and provide shelter to the homeless on Mexico’s southwestern coast, a Category 1 hurricane struck Mexico’s Gulf Coast on Saturday. At least two people were killed by Hurricane Katia, which was downgraded to a tropical storm shortly after making landfall, officials said.
Trump did not offer condolences to Mexico after either disaster, as is common when tragedies befall U.S. allies, even as multiple American mayors and governors offered their sympathies and help. Nor did Trump offer U.S. aid to Mexico.
Trump’s silence as the earthquake death toll climbed was widely seen here as another sign of Trump’s cool attitude toward Mexico.
That his staff could not even pry a “thoughts and prayers” from the self-absorbed narcissist is indicative of just how far down his own rabbit hole the man is. And if John Kelly cannot even do that much as chief of staff, John Kelly needs to find himself a less challenging day job.
Mexico had, as usual, offered any necessary emergency assistance after Hurricane Harvey brought unprecedented flooding to the Texas coast. This was not a mere gesture. After Hurricane Katrina, Mexican troops delivered portable water treatment plants, kitchens, and other supplies and remained to provide 170,000 meals to displaced Louisiana and Mississippi residents.
This time, Trump never even offered a response.
The offer by Mexico has since been rescinded, but that wasn’t an indication of pique on the part of the Mexican government: Those resources have now been deployed to the nation’s own national disaster areas, where they are now urgently needed. Even though he is an avid television watcher, Trump is unlikely to have so much as noticed.