Is there no third rail of American politics this president fears? Obviously not.
And so on President Trump goes, once more slaughtering yet another political sacred cow: the hurricane-ravaged, flooded-out, helpless local pol — weeping before the jackals in the media — accusing the federal government of failing to protect her people from Mother Nature.
“I am asking the president of the United States to make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives,” pleaded San Juan Mayor Carmen Cruz after her city was slammed by two massive hurricanes over the past weeks.
“I am going to do what I never thought I was going to do,” she continued. “I am begging — begging! — anyone who can hear us to save us from dying.”
Then she turned her ire — apparently — on Mr. Trump personally.
“We are dying,” she said, “and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy!”
“I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell!”
This, of course, brought cheers from the press and Democratic politicians suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome who will go to any lengths to pin blame for everything on Mr. Trump.
Never, as one Democratic politician famously said, let a good crisis go to waste.
To be sure, the footage of flooding on Puerto Rico is truly heartbreaking and the prospect of further devastation is dire.
But blaming such a catastrophe on politics is bizarre if you actually think about it. It is about as misguided as expecting the federal bureaucracy to protect your island from the rage of Mother Nature in the first place.
This being politics, however, it’s always silly season.
In this case, San Juan’s mayor tangled with the wrong guy. Politics 101 has always instructed presidents to lie down and take any beating — no matter how politically motivated — that is offered up over federal response to natural disasters.
Just ask former President George W. Bush, whose reputation will forever be linked by the media to Hurricane Katrina. Forget all the blame that should have been heaped on local politicians in New Orleans who should have prepared better for the storm.
To his credit, Mr. Trump has not taken Politics 101. And if he did, he would purposely fail it.
He hit back.
In typical Trump fashion, he began with an unapologetic boast.
The Twitter pirouette from boast to martyrdom is vintage Trump. But he was just getting started.
“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help,” Mr. Trump raged. “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”
It did not help Ms. Cruz that she accused Mr. Trump of killing her people while standing amid aisles of food and bottled water on giant pallets. This only highlighted the fact that ships have been delivering cargo containers of rations and relief into the San Juan harbor, but local officials have not been able to distribute the goods to the people who need them.
Just one more tragic example that the federal government is not the answer to every problem. Even the weather.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter via @charleshurt.
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