New York, NY – Donald Trump’s boastful characterization of his administration’s response to storm-ravaged Puerto as an “unsung success” is not sitting well with an IBT Local 210 crane operator who was part of last year’s trade unionist effort to help the beleaguered island’s people.
“It kind of got me pissed off,” Jessica Yance told LaborPress this week. “I was actually there — I saw firsthand what [the people of Puerto Rico] went through.”
Teamsters who took part in last November’s volunteer relief effort described scenes of widespread devastation and neglect — frightened American families left without power, little food and not much hope.
Trump’s assessment of his own job performance flies in the face of statistics showing as many as 3,000 Puerto Rican people have died in the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes.
[Trump’s remarks] reminded me of the day he threw the paper towels at people — it was a slap in the face,” Yance adds. “He talks to everyone as if they’re stupid. It’s disrespectful to the people that were there.”
Almost immediately following his “unsung success” boast, Trump fired off a Tweet declaring, “3,000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico.” Instead, Trump claimed Democrats had invented the sickening death toll “in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”
Puerto Rico’s death toll had already risen to more than 900 by October 28, 2017, when New York State Nurses Association President [NYSNA] Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez — in Puerto Rico as part of the volunteer relief effort — told climate change activists assembled in Brooklyn that the devastation on the island was ten-times worse than Hurricane Sandy five years prior.
“He talks to everyone as if they’re stupid. It’s disrespectful to the people that were there.” — IBT Local 210 crane operator Jessica Yance.
Just a few days before the Brooklyn rally, another group of volunteer nurses returning from disaster relief work in Puerto Rico, charged the Trump administration with “delaying necessary humanitarian aide to its own citizens and leaving them to die.”
“We cannot be silent while millions of people continue to endure these conditions,” National Nurses United Associate Executive Director Bonnie Castillo said.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz responded to Trump’s death toll denial with a Tweet of her own stating, “This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch. YOUR LACK OF RESPECT IS APPALLING!”
This week, residents across the eastern seaboard are bracing for another monster storm — Hurricane Florence.
If needed, Yance says that she will volunteer to help neighbors affected by that storm as well.
“If they ask for my help that’s what I’m going to do,” the trade unionist said. “That’s what we’re all about.”