The National Guard / Flickr Puerto Rico National Guard...
The National Guard / Flickr

Appearing on Fox News, Trump FEMA administrator Brock Long defended the Trump team’s continued slow response to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico by claiming the relief effort is “the most logistically challenging event the US has ever seen.”

[T]he bottom line is, is this is the most logistically challenging event the United States has ever seen and we have been moving and pushing as fast as the situation allows.

There is no doubt that the response to Hurricane Maria is challenging—but to call it the “most logistically challenging event” the nation has ever seen is a difficult notion to defend. The nation has engaged in many wars in which even single individual battles have involved far more manpower than the Trump administration has summoned for this task. The nation has put men on the moon; it quite recently invaded the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq and tasked itself with rebuilding efforts afterwards. From the Berlin Airlift to the building of the Panama Canal, the nation has done far more “logistically challenging” things on a regular basis. Many of those things required crossing big water considerably more bigly than the distances involved here.

This is just spitballing, at this point, but if Trump’s FEMA director believes his team’s efforts here amount to the most “logistically challenging” event the nation has yet seen, perhaps we need a FEMA director who does not think that?

Long, too, seems to consider soothing Trump’s ego to be one of his more urgent subtasks of the relief effort.

You know, we can choose to look at what the mayor spouts off or what other people spout off, but we can also choose to see what’s actually being done. And that’s what I would ask.

On the ground in Puerto Rico, the question is indeed being asked—and the administration has been getting poor reviews. The simplest way to ensure Donald Trump got the effusive praise that Donald Trump requires on a daily-if-not-hourly basis would have been to respond to the emergency needs of our citizens with such speed and thoroughness that even his detractors would have to give him credit for it.

But they couldn’t muster that, so here we are.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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