Progressive Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders complained on CNN Sunday that Donald Trump was ignoring Hurricane Maria's victims in Puerto Rico because the President was struggling with his own racism.
“Given the president’s history on race, given the fact that he — a few months ago — said there were good people on both sides when neo-Nazis were marching in Charlottesville, yeah, I think we have a right to be suspect that he is treating the people in Puerto Rico in a different way than he has treated the people of Texas or Florida," Sanders told Jake Tapper during a segment of CNN's State of the Union.
Sanders went on to note that Puerto Rico's residents are citizens of the United States, and that they are entitled to the same degree of care as any other US resident.
As is customary with Sanders, his analysis is off on several levels. First, it appears from all evidence that Puerto Rico is receiving as much or more disaster relief assistance than Texas and Florida, affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irene, respectively. The Federal government has more than 10,000 employees on the ground in Puerto Rico and surrounding islands handling infrastructure repairs, it has freed up millions in emergency aid funding and sent thousands of pounds of food, clean water and medicine.
FEMA has taken to documenting the aid process on its Twitter account, providing up-to-date timelines on repairs and providing the public with pictures of its disaster relief team, as well as teams from the New York fire department, the US military and Red Cross, to prove things are happening on the ground.
But Puerto Rico had major infrastructure issues before Hurricane Maria hit, and problems with both local government and labor unions are compounding relief efforts and stalling disbursement.
It's also not clear who, exactly, Bernie Sanders thinks lives in Texas and Florida. It appears he believes the states are populated with only white Trump voters, who earned the Federal government's attention by voting for the right party in November. And he seems to forget that Trump was criticized for his response to both of those natural disasters, as well.
Of course, Bernie Sanders can't be counted on to relate accurate information regularly, but this seems way off base, even for the Senator from Vermont who once claimed he could fund single payer healthcare without raising taxes.