Move over, Birthers.
Gullible rightwing assholes needed a new conspiracy, and they got one. My conservative friends on Facebook have taken to posting several bullshit messages from Puerto Rico, like the one below. It has been shared almost a million times, yet I instantly found it a little suspicious:
According to truthorfiction, the guy who made this post works as an executive secretary for the Church of Scientology in Puerto Rico, and has ties to multiple Russian Facebook groups with names like “Employee as Part of a Team” and “Club of Fans of Sports Shooting from Pneumatic Weapon”.
Sadly, this is not the only one.
I’ve seen several posts on social media claiming Puerto Rico is doing just superb—and that Trump’s response has been fantastic. One debunked item going around said Trump has sent “140 helicopters” and “2 nuclear submarines”. (Why? To produce the 2.8 jigga-watts of electricity, of course).
There unfortunately appears to be a massive disinformation campaign going on, inspired by Russian trolls and promoted by
republicans racists, to promote one of Trump’s worst lies to date: that things are “going great in Puerto Rico.” And you’d know that if it weren’t for all the print, online, and broadcast media conspiring to cover it all up. The images and video of death and destruction you keep seeing is just “fake news”.
Don’t believe your eyes…All fake…. Doing great!!
For me, this is particularly galling because I live in Orlando, which has the largest Puerto Rican community in the nation. All of my Puerto Rican friends are horrified by what is taking place on the island—some of them are still unable to contact friends and relatives.
It’s not just the fact that 80% of the island is still out of power and certain areas remain completely submerged, but there is now a serious lack of drinking water and a huge food shortage affecting millions. Desperate citizens are trying to get water from toxic cleanup sites.
Lest you think this would inspire compassion from rightwing leaders for their fellow Americans, they instead are taking their cues from Russian trolls and are saying that we aren’t seeing what we are actually seeing.
Here’s Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA) literally accusing this CNN anchor of making up what is happening in Puerto Rico:
(Willing to bet he’s one of the 69 asshole republicans who voted against giving the island basic relief? He was.)
Yes, that’s GOP @RepScottPerry actually telling Mr. Cuomo that he was just making it all up. (Notice he also thinks they are a separate country.)
Perry joins a chorus of GOP leaders who are not only refusing to condemn these irresponsible claims that everything is going great, but are now actually going on TV to bolster this blatant lie.
At first, when the mayor of San Juan used the term “genocide”, I thought she was engaging in hyperbole. Yet the fact that this administration is using similar tactics that holocaust deniers have used means I’m not so sure. (Keep in mind that this administration has even outright engaged in holocaust denial, followed by a robust defense of Nazis.)
The pressure we have applied on trump, by shining a spotlight on his disaster, is the only reason he has bothered to send any help at all to PR. He would be perfectly content to keep insulting the island’s inhabitants while watching them suffer and die–which is what is happening right now whether you deny it or not.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.