No, Trump Didn’t Botch The Puerto Rico Response

No, Trump Didn’t Botch The Puerto Rico Response

There’s no doubt that President Trump did not help things out with all his tweeting and fighting back against people like the nutty and overly political mayor of San Juan. Playing golf was bad optics (though, the same media had to problem with Obama staying on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Or other things). But, the actual response? It has been excellent. Things like this

Bloomberg News, not usually a supporter of Mr. Trump, interviews former Navy Captain Jerry Hendrix, who has intimate knowledge of the goings on and someone who has been heavily involved in other emergency operations

TH: So, it seems like everybody has blasted Trump administration’s response to the Puerto Rico crisis. Has that criticism been fair?

JH: No, I don’t think so. First of all, there was a fair amount of anticipatory action that is not being recognized. Amphibious ships, including the light amphibious carriers Kearsarge and Wasp and the amphibious landing ship dock Oak Hill were at sea and dispatched to Puerto Rico ahead of the hurricane’s impact.

These are large ships that have large flight decks to land and dispatch heavy-lift CH-53 helicopters to and from disaster sites. They also have big well-decks — exposed surfaces that are lower than the fore and aft of the ship — from which large landing craft can be dispatched to shore carrying over 150 tons of water, food and other supplies on each trip. These are actually the ideal platforms for relief operations owing to their range of assets. The ships, due to their designs to support Marine amphibious landings in war zones, also have hospitals onboard to provide medical treatment on a large scale. That these ships were in the area should be viewed as a huge positive for the administration and the Department of Defense.

And early on, these were the only ways to get relief in, as the airports were trashed. The runways had to be cleared first, before even the military heavy haulers could land. And there are only a few runways in PR that can take the big planes. Commercial flights had to wait for even more runway repair, and, all these were coming from farther away, so that relief was not take from Texas nor Florida.

Then on to the use of the hospital ship Comfort

JH: Comfort can add to the solution, but her lack of well-decks and large boats as well as her limited support of helicopter operations means that she has to go alongside a pier to be effective. In the immediate aftermath of a huge storm, pulling into a port that has not been surveyed for underwater obstacles like trees or cables or other refuse is an invitation to either put a hole your ship or foul your propellers or rudders.

That being said, there was a broad misunderstanding of the Comfort’s mission. She is not an “emergency response ship” but rather a hospital ship. She was built to accompany a large military force into a war zone as part of a buildup over time of capabilities to respond to wartime injuries. She is manned by military and civilian mariners as well as active and reserve medical personnel. It takes time to both man and equip her for sea. Given that there was no certainty where the hurricane would hit, it doesn’t make sense to have readied her prior to its impact.

Let’s break that down. It takes awhile to get the personnel on board, and it was a non-optimal use of resources, as it couldn’t dock early on. The only way to get people to the ship was really via helicopter, which was limited. Sending it down is mostly political. Optics. It can’t hurt being there, though.

Captain Hendrix does not that there is a greater need for heavy machinery to do things like clear the roads, which were already in poor repair due to their financial problems. There’s much more to the article, well worth the read.

And there’s this, when it comes to the San Juan mayor going crazy and insulting

The mayor of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico cast serious doubt Saturday on the claims made by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has repeatedly attacked President Trump and accused him of abandoning Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Guaynabo’s mayor, Angel Perez, said in an interview with The Daily Caller that his experience with the federal government has been different from Cruz’s, in part because — unlike Cruz — he has been participating in meetings with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies.

Cruz, a Democrat, has repeatedly accused Trump and the federal government of abandoning Puerto Rico. She demanded in a press conference on Friday that Trump do more to help the island, adding that “we are going to see is something close to a genocide” if more is not done.

That’s right, she is not even participating in FEMA meetings. Put down the microphone, stop being political, and help your people.

However, I’ll say it again: Trump needs to stop the twitter fights. Let it go. Still, the response has been excellent, despite what Democrats and their pet news organizations are saying.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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