On Tuesday's episode of Late Night, Seth Meyers heavily critiqued Trump's response to Puerto Rico, which has been utterly devastated by Hurricane Maria, equating the president's actions with those of a "sh*tty landlord."
Meyer's clip referenced Trump's recent tweets about Puerto Rico, in which the president chose to chastise Puerto Rico for its debt and what he believes is insufficient infrastructure as opposed to offering words of comfort and more guidance about aid assistance post-Maria. The island, which is a U.S. territory, has been profoundly impacted by the storm, with many residents lacking access to even basic necessities.
Meyers did not hold back when bashing Trump. The comedian assertively called out the president, condemning him for focusing on the wrong thing.
Hey! Don’t go after Puerto Rico for their financial problems now. Victims of tragedy aren’t looking for ‘real talk.’ You don’t start a eulogy by saying, ‘Well, the guy never exercised … ’ And hey, weren’t you the guy who was going to put Americans before Wall Street? You couldn’t even do that in a tweet! People don’t have clean drinking water, and your first instinct is to tell them they owe money. What are you, some kind of shitty landlord ... Oh, right. You were a shitty landlord.
Meyers further went on to blast Trump for his delay in sending someone to assess the damage on the island, saying "it took you a full week before you even sent someone to check out the situation ... you're like the guy who says he'll help his friend move and then just shows up at the end for pizza."
Meyers then passionately reminded Trump of the fact that Puerto Ricans are indeed Americans. Puerto Ricans are American citizens (something which, according to the New York Times, nearly half of Americans do not realize). While Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, not a state, and thus its residents do not vote in U.S. elections, Puerto Ricans are indeed citizens of the country and, resultantly, should be treated as such when it comes to post-disaster relief and recovery.
On his show, Meyers strongly emphasized this point and pointed out the irony that Trump aspires to "make America great again" yet seemingly does not appear to be treating all Americans equally when it comes to providing post- hurricane assistance. As the comedian put it,
Puerto Ricans are Americans. They use American currency and carry American passports ... You wanted to make America great again, so I'll say it again: Puerto Rico is America. They're included in the whole make America great again thing.
Meyers is not the only one who has been critical of Trump's Puerto Rico response. Indeed, several members of Congress have also expressed their displeaure with the president's seemingly lackluster and insenstive treatment of the U.S. terrority.
For example, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, Rep. Joe Crowley, a Democrat from New York, said it was "absolutely ridiculous" for Trump to mention Puerto Rico's debt "when people are suffering and dying. Here's a president who's used bankruptcy throughout his entire career."
Moreover, another democratic representative from New York, Nydia Velazquez, said that Hurricane Maria is "going to be Mr. Trump’s Katrina" and asserted that the president needed to "spend less time putting out tweets" and more time addressing the crisis.
For his part, Trump reportedly believes that his administration's work toward Puerto Rico's recovery has been excellent, saying in a recent press conference, "Everybody has said it’s amazing the job we’ve done in Puerto Rico. We’re very proud of it ..." The president plans to visit the island on Tuesday.
Overall, it is clear that many people, including Meyers as well as members of Congress, are very concerned about Trump's seemingly unsympathetic and insufficient response to the post-disaster crisis in Puerto Rico. Hopefully Trump will take note of these concerns and do more to fully address the many needs of Puerto Ricans as they try to recover after Maria.