Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump and DeSantis May Do Well by Doing Good [Updated 1 Sept.]

 

After Hurricane Maria fully exposed the extent of Puerto Rican public corruption and incompetence, President Trump allowed his supposedly expert professional advisors and disaster response agency leaders to drive the pace of response. As a result, Puerto Rico is still in significantly worse shape than Texas. Also as a result, Puerto Ricans, who are all American citizens, moved in large numbers to Florida, where they may well flip the state to the Democrats in 2020.

It is in President Trump’s and Governor DeSantis’s interest to very publicly show what a difference Republican leadership makes in response to a hurricane. President Trump took the first right step by canceling his trip to Poland. He is sending Vice President Pence in his place to commemorate Poland’s valiant struggle against the Germans and Russians, a place they find themselves in again today on the economic level. President Trump has communicated to the public and the government where his priorities lie.

President Trump addressed the American people on August 29th in a 90-second video, and had his team build in satellite time-lapse imagery of the approaching storm, to make the point of how serious it seems:

President Trump then reemphasized the danger in his walk-out press talk on 30 August. By the way, he was very gracious about the firing of his executive assistant, calling her a good person and offering mitigation for the circumstances under which she crossed the line. The line crossed apparently involved false comments about his view of his younger daughter, Tiffany. He also connected the relative restraint of the Chinese government in Hong Kong to their need to get the U.S.-China trade relationship settled.

Governor DeSantis broadcast Friday morning, flanked by his National Guard Adjutant General (two-star Air Force National Guard general (federally recognized)) and Department of Emergency Management director. He said all the things you expect a competent Florida governor to say to his state’s residents:

He then appeared in Palm County Friday afternoon, with an update. He stated this county was now more likely to hit hard. He called for people to have 7 days of food and water, and expect power to be out for some time. He gave the warning order on shelters and then said inspectors were checking every assisted living facility to ensure they had back up power and were in compliance, with a not too subtle unspoken or else. He pointed out total transparency of the good and bad facilities and a court case that a bad facility recently lost, presumably with bad things happening to the miscreants.

His message to everyone was: “the time to act is now, it is a slower-moving storm, but the time to act is now.” He laid out a massive fuel truck operation, with neighboring states waiving truck weight restrictions on tanker trucks, that was underway to prevent fuel being the limiting factor on evacuation or response. They are filling every gas station tank, and local fuel storage facility as fast as possible.

If it’s just raining like cats ‘n’ dogs, that’s a win, but that is now the low probability scenario for some part of Florida.

Naturally, the Democrats’ media mouthpieces were working to spoil any goodwill. See the ABC News headline for a supposed “news” story, not in an “opinion” section: “Trump declares emergency in Florida with millions – and his clubs – in Dorian’s path.” You are not supposed to be confused by the Great Big Ugly Man’s expressions of concern. Just in case, ABC is here to set you straight: it is really all about President Trump’s own property in the state.

ABC News hates Trump, and they hate you for daring to not hate him. They want a disaster they can blame on Republicans, just like they want you thrown out of work in a recession, so you will either stay home or see the light and vote their party back into total power next year. Same for their kindred spirits in the rest of the leftist media cadre, the exceptions proving the rule.

Both the president and the governor should make very strong statements warning against public or private fraud or theft connected with the storm. Likewise, they should profusely praise local communities and officials who are doing the right thing and rapidly, effectively preparing and responding. Shortly after the storm, President Trump should order AG Barr to perp walk Puerto Rican public officials who misappropriated federal funds or materials from 2017. No tweets, an actual written presidential order.

Both the president and the Florida governor should make a point of meeting with Puerto Ricans who moved to Florida after Maria, and who are now in the path of Dorian. Shake hands, give out hugs as appropriate. Make the point that all American citizens are equal, where ever they live. Make sure that all Floridians, however recent, know for a fact that Republicans of the Trump faction care and are competent, that this is the ticket to vote next year.

[Updated 1 September]

Governor DeSantis is using the Florida governor’s official webpage to post daily public updates on Hurricane Dorian. These are blasted out to media as well. It is a clear, well organized and comprehensive briefing. To facilitate partial evacuations, he has already suspended tolls on the relevant state highways.

Politico has done an initial political assessment, of Governor DeSantis and Hurricane Dorian, perhaps disappointed:

Dealing with the complexities – and politics – of natural disasters has enhanced the reputations of previous Florida governors, including Jeb Bush and Rick Scott. And even though Dorian’s track is ticking east, which could spare Florida from a direct hit this week, the storm has required DeSantis to test-drive his administration’s emergency management capabilities amid the threat of widespread power outages, flooding and fatalities.

DeSantis so far is handling his first major appearance in the hurricane spotlight, a rite of passage for Florida governors, well. As the Category 4 storm approaches Florida’s east coast, the political stakes are high for the new governor.

The rest of the piece points to past successes and failures in the state.

The human and weather story is one of a very slow-moving storm with extremely high winds. The combination means both massive wind damage and massive flooding possible within the hurricane’s arms. Dorian’s 185 mph wind speeds over the Bahamas reportedly tied the 1935 storm that hit the Florida Keys that Labor Day.

National Weather Service forecaster Eric Oglesby said Dorian now unofficially joins the Labor day hurricane of 1935 as the most powerful storms at landfall. The “Labor Day” hurricane’s wind speed was also 185 mph when it made landfall in the Florida Keys in September 1935.

[…]

Dorian is still about 205 miles from West Palm and its expected track has it staying out in the Atlantic as it heads north. However, much of Florida’s east coast remains in the “cone of uncertainty,” marking the hurricane’s potential path. The Hurricane Center said life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds remain possible along the east coast through mid-week, prompting more weather advisories and evacuations in Florida.

“I ask everyone in Hurricane Dorian’s path to heed all warnings and evacuation orders from local authorities,” President Donald Trump said of Dorian on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Governor Henry McMaster ordered the South Carolina coast evacuated, with highway lanes reversed to maximize the evacuation rate, effective Monday.

President Trump led a federal hurricane response update, in a FEMA conference room, with governors on the phone. Audio is a bit muddy.

He opened with comments on a Saturday evening spree-killing in Odessa and Midland Texas, where a motorist responded to a traffic stop by starting to shoot, hijacked a Postal Service vehicle and continued shooting his way down the road until police stopped him with deadly force. He then zeroed in on asking questions about what the chances were of Hurricane Dorian striking the U.S. coast directly. “How certain are you?” This allowed the experts to explain clearly that even the edge of the storm can bring great damage.

There are 19 comments.

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  1. Gary Robbins Reagan

    I think that you nailed the politics and policy issues. Given the size of the Hurricane, it made huge sense for Trump to cancel his Poland trip. I would agree that Trump has a problem with Hispanics in general and Puerto Rican’s in specific. We have had several very good Florida Republican Governors, DeSantis, Scott and Jeb, who have got this down.

    • #1
    • August 30, 2019, at 7:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Randy Webster Member

    And then there are those of us who like the Constitution:

    “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” James Madison

    I understand that this is a dead horse, and that if people hurt, the government has to move.

     

     

     

    • #2
    • August 30, 2019, at 8:16 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    And then there are those of us who like the Constitution:

    “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” James Madison

    I understand that this is a dead horse, and that if people hurt, the government has to move.

     

    The federal government is the last one in, the resources added after local is overwhelmed, after state is overwhelmed, after mutual aid among states (pre-existing compacts) is seen to be overmatched. Responding to mass destruction and the threat of pandemic is not “benevolence,” whether the source is natural or man-made. 

    But maybe I’m just not a good enough American.

     

     

    • #3
    • August 31, 2019, at 12:33 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. Randy Webster Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    And then there are those of us who like the Constitution:

    “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” James Madison

    I understand that this is a dead horse, and that if people hurt, the government has to move.

    The federal government is the last one in, the resources added after local is overwhelmed, after state is overwhelmed, after mutual aid among states (pre-existing compacts) is seen to be overmatched. Responding to mass destruction and the threat of pandemic is not “benevolence,” whether the source is natural or man-made.

    But maybe I’m just not a good enough American.

    Nah. We just have differing understandings of what the Constitution means.

    • #4
    • August 31, 2019, at 1:07 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    But maybe I’m just not a good enough American.

    I don’t know why we do this. Randy disagrees with you on the spending of federal dollars. I agree with Randy. Neither of us thinks that you aren’t a good enough American. 

    • #5
    • August 31, 2019, at 7:39 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Spin (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    But maybe I’m just not a good enough American.

    I don’t know why we do this. Randy disagrees with you on the spending of federal dollars. I agree with Randy. Neither of us thinks that you aren’t a good enough American.

    But maybe I don’t “like the Constitution?” Would you like an amendment ratified that expressly authorizes our disaster response systems? Or would you like to see “federal dollars” not siphoned out of the states in the first place, so the local jurisdictions and citizens would have more resources to start? Or are natural disasters just tough luck and a sign that people should abandon those areas, so no dollars collected in taxes should go to address natural disasters?

    This last possibility would suggest massive concentration of population and economic activity in a handful of areas where there are no tornadoes, no hurricanes, no floods, no earthquakes, and no wildfires. Think those areas could actually carry our population and our economy? And would such concentrations be an invitation to large scale “man-made disasters?” If so, at least that is squarely inside the Constitution’s authority for legislative and executive action, provided we understood the source to be foreign and not a local criminal matter.

    • #6
    • August 31, 2019, at 6:26 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    But maybe I’m just not a good enough American.

    I don’t know why we do this. Randy disagrees with you on the spending of federal dollars. I agree with Randy. Neither of us thinks that you aren’t a good enough American.

    But maybe I don’t “like the Constitution?” Would you like an amendment ratified that expressly authorizes our disaster response systems? Or would you like to see “federal dollars” not siphoned out of the states in the first place, so the local jurisdictions and citizens would have more resources to start? Or are natural disasters just tough luck and a sign that people should abandon those areas, so no dollars collected in taxes should go to address natural disasters?

    This last possibility would suggest massive concentration of population and economic activity in a handful of areas where there are no tornadoes, no hurricanes, no floods, no earthquakes, and no wildfires. Think those areas could actually carry our population and our economy? And would such concentrations be an invitation to large scale “man-made disasters?” If so, at least that is squarely inside the Constitution’s authority for legislative and executive action, provided we understood the source to be foreign and not a local criminal matter.

    A: You are assuming some value judgement against you based upon disagreement. You ought’nt do that.

    B: I’d prefer the tax dollars not be collected in the first place, at least not at the federal level.

    C: The third paragraph is nonsense.

    • #7
    • August 31, 2019, at 6:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Spin (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    But maybe I’m just not a good enough American.

    I don’t know why we do this. Randy disagrees with you on the spending of federal dollars. I agree with Randy. Neither of us thinks that you aren’t a good enough American.

    But maybe I don’t “like the Constitution?” Would you like an amendment ratified that expressly authorizes our disaster response systems? Or would you like to see “federal dollars” not siphoned out of the states in the first place, so the local jurisdictions and citizens would have more resources to start? Or are natural disasters just tough luck and a sign that people should abandon those areas, so no dollars collected in taxes should go to address natural disasters?

    This last possibility would suggest massive concentration of population and economic activity in a handful of areas where there are no tornadoes, no hurricanes, no floods, no earthquakes, and no wildfires. Think those areas could actually carry our population and our economy? And would such concentrations be an invitation to large scale “man-made disasters?” If so, at least that is squarely inside the Constitution’s authority for legislative and executive action, provided we understood the source to be foreign and not a local criminal matter.

    A: You are assuming some value judgement against you based upon disagreement. You ought’nt do that.

    B: I’d prefer the tax dollars not be collected in the first place, at least not at the federal level.

    C: The third paragraph is nonsense.

    1. We’re all friends here. I don’t really assume any value judgment, although tone does not always come through well in print.

    2. I agree, generally.

    3. Actually, it isn’t. America has the most amazing range of extreme weather and subsequent risk in places we find desirable to live. There are a few places where no truly destructive weather or seismic threats exist, at any significant level. If people should be on their own to deal with natural disasters, then there should be no federal laws to shift or spread the costs. Follow that logic and you drive development to concentrate in insurable locations….

    Oh, and I’m glad this thread can be going in this direction, instead of likely moving towards considering the aftermath of the storm slamming into Florida. Here’s hoping the post turns entirely academic, and that this and subsequent storms steer off our shores.

    • #8
    • August 31, 2019, at 7:39 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    I have posted separately on VP Pence in Poland.

    • #9
    • September 1, 2019, at 8:43 PM PDT
    • Like
  10. Henry Castaigne Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I think that you nailed the politics and policy issues. Given the size of the Hurricane, it made huge sense for Trump to cancel his Poland trip. I would agree that Trump has a problem with Hispanics in general and Puerto Rican’s in specific. We have had several very good Florida Republican Governors, DeSantis, Scott and Jeb, who have got this down.

    Why Puerto Ricans in particular?

    • #10
    • September 2, 2019, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. Stina Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    And then there are those of us who like the Constitution:

    “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” James Madison

    I understand that this is a dead horse, and that if people hurt, the government has to move.

     

     

     

    This is largely an issue, not of the constitution, but in the majority of the US populace sees value in helping their fellow Americans. Its perhaps one of the only places left in our national politics where we still exhibit national loyalty and compassion, rather than a 50/50 spitting, hair-pulling, divide. 

    • #11
    • September 2, 2019, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Randy Webster Member

    Stina (View Comment):
    This is largely an issue, not of the constitution, but in the majority of the US populace sees value in helping their fellow Americans. Its perhaps one of the only places left in our national politics where we still exhibit national loyalty and compassion, rather than a 50/50 spitting, hair-pulling, divide.

    Is it your position that if the majority of the US populace sees value in something then it’s ipso facto Constitutional? That’s a dangerous position to take.

    • #12
    • September 2, 2019, at 1:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Goldgeller Member

    DeSantis was always out working to win FL votes and he is being a very responsible governor. (But then again so was Rick Scott.) I did some very minor/incidental work with some people in Florida Emergency Management and had a chance to pick their brains for a minute. I came away thinking they were always planning and trying to put systems in place to prep for disaster. The chief concern, back when I was on the edges, was the lack of a consistent communication systems/program to alert citizens to what the government’s response will be. I think they have improved on that a great deal (this was 2015). The other good thing that was going on in Florida was that they knew it had been a while since they had a major hurricane. This was a major concern floated when I was a claims adjuster. We “knew” a “big one” would eventually hit FL and FL hadn’t had any “big ones” in a while, so we were horrified that the response to the storm would be poorly coordinated (I’ve seen it happen in other states!). But Florida has in some sense been planning extra hard precisely because they knew they hadn’t had a serious hurricane in a while. So good on the agencies and Governors Scott and DeSantis for encouraging and attitude of vigilance and innovation. I know they’ve been throwing tons of money at the use of drones for the purposes of evaluating best policies for disaster relief so let’s see where that takes us.

     

    Hopefully Dorian doesn’t hurt FL too badly. Hopefully the planning pays off. 

    • #13
    • September 2, 2019, at 2:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Stina Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    This is largely an issue, not of the constitution, but in the majority of the US populace sees value in helping their fellow Americans. Its perhaps one of the only places left in our national politics where we still exhibit national loyalty and compassion, rather than a 50/50 spitting, hair-pulling, divide.

    Is it your position that if the majority of the US populace sees value in something then it’s ipso facto Constitutional? That’s a dangerous position to take.

    I don’t think the constitution was meant to limit how the people spend their money as a community. It does say no taxation without representation… so you have a say in taxes you pay and where it goes. I have no issues with the people choosing to be taxed for specific purposes.

    Yeah, I see problems from it, but not the ones you see. You see “outside constitution”, I see “centralized government”. Centralized government is a different issue entirely, and conservatives have a healthy split on it. Just find a conservative lauding Hamilton and you found the federalist contingent of the conservatives.

    Being an anti-federalist, I’m with Clifford on moving that control back to the states. But we don’t have state supremacy… we have federal supremacy.

    • #14
    • September 2, 2019, at 3:13 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. Randy Webster Member

    Stina (View Comment):
    I don’t think the constitution was meant to limit how the people spend their money as a community.

    I think that’s exactly what the Constitution was meant to limit. By that I mean that it was meant to limit what a majority could force a dissenting minority to spend its money on. It wasn’t meant to limit how you could spend your money individually.

    • #15
    • September 2, 2019, at 6:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown: President Trump allowed his supposedly expert professional advisors and disaster response agency leaders to drive the pace of response

    I don’t think this is fair. Puerto Rico, like the states, has a lot of independence. Also, the situation there can’t be compared with Texas, because Houston is a wealthy city and with a lot of nearby resources. Many people in Houston have family in Texas they can lean on. Puerto Rico is an island…literally. 

    Trump could work on a Jones Act waiver.

    • #16
    • September 2, 2019, at 6:18 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Stina Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    I don’t think the constitution was meant to limit how the people spend their money as a community.

    I think that’s exactly what the Constitution was meant to limit. By that I mean that it was meant to limit what a majority could force a dissenting minority to spend its money on. It wasn’t meant to limit how you could spend your money individually.

    As has been pointed out by smarter people than I, our founders weren’t ignorant or hostile to the commonwealth. They were hostile to political oppression, fostered by oppressive taxation that keeps you subjugate and unable to improve one’s station, unjust imprisonment, and all the excesses that lead to that (like disarmament).

    If you dislike California telling Florida how to spend its money, then you can join the groups of anti-federalists that seem to be growing. That way, you can pack your bags and move to a different state if you dislike their choices.

    • #17
    • September 2, 2019, at 6:59 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. Randy Webster Member

    Stina (View Comment):
    If you dislike California telling Florida how to spend its money, then you can join the groups of anti-federalists that seem to be growing. That way, you can pack your bags and move to a different state if you dislike their choices.

    I agree with you regarding state governments. I disagree vehemently regarding the Feds.

    • #18
    • September 2, 2019, at 7:01 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    DonG (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: President Trump allowed his supposedly expert professional advisors and disaster response agency leaders to drive the pace of response

    I don’t think this is fair. Puerto Rico, like the states, has a lot of independence. Also, the situation there can’t be compared with Texas, because Houston is a wealthy city and with a lot of nearby resources. Many people in Houston have family in Texas they can lean on. Puerto Rico is an island…literally.

    Trump could work on a Jones Act waiver.

    President Trump could and should have rammed through a Jones Act waiver, running a whole deck of race cards on Congress. He also could and should have reset his team, on camera, directing the entire capability and manpower of the DoD and all other agencies, if needed, to get every roof covered, roads cleared, and power back in an inhumanly short time, while threatening swarms of federal investigators and prosecutorial teams on the faintest whiff of corruption in the recovery. This could have been his first instance of “rebuilding America instead of trillions on foreign countries.”

    This is the guy who got disgusted with NYC piddling around on a skating rink, so he took over and got it restored under time and under budget. He’s the billionaire builder. He could have flipped Puerto Ricans to the same kind of voters as Cold War Cuban immigrants. This was a moment he missed, perhaps part of the collateral damage of the corrupt DOJ/IC “collusion” conspiracy that is “Watergate X 10,000.” 

    • #19
    • September 2, 2019, at 11:53 PM PDT
    • Like

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