Hurricane Dorian is expected to hit Puerto Rico with winds of 66 miles an hour and as much as ten inches of rain. This is not expected to be as severe a storm as Hurricane Maria, which reached Puerto Rico in 2017 as a Category 5 hurricane, with winds of 175 miles per hour.
The president’s response
President Trump, who has complained before that Puerto Rico leaders were not grateful enough for the help they received from the federal government following Hurricane Maria, has already tweeted his confidence that emergency services “will do a good job.” His tweet also included a demand to “give them a big Thank You — Not like last time.”
Trump has announced his intention to shift $155 million from FEMA to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement that “Taking money away from TSA and from FEMA in the middle of hurricane season could have deadly consequences.”
A recent essay in Harvard Political Review suggested that Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria, which has drawn criticism from many sources, could encourage statehood. “Ultimately, Donald Trump’s actions are setting up Puerto Rico in the long term with a clearer basis of support for statehood,” author Beverly Brown wrote, “one that with the 2020 presidential election approaching, may soon become an agenda item for the next administration.”
It is safe to say that Americans will be watching President Trump as his administration gets another chance to respond to hurricane damage in the U.S. territories.
Puerto Rico prepares
Shelters have been opened for the many residents of Puerto Rico whose roofs have not yet been repaired since Hurricane Maria.
Governor Vazquez says that Puerto Rico is better prepared this time than in 2017. She has already declared a state of emergency. Fox News reports that Vazquez said, “I want everyone to feel calm. Agency directors have prepared for the last two years. The experience of Maria has been a great lesson for everyone.”
Dorian is expected to reach Florida as a Category 3 hurricane over Labor Day weekend.