Welcome to POTUS Said What?!, a weekly roundup of Trump’s most asinine and ineloquent sound bytes and our effort to understand WTF he’s even talking about.
This week, we tackle Trump’s tone-deaf ramblings in Puerto Rico, his equally insensitive "come-together" statement about the Las Vegas massacre, and the ominous off-the-cuff remarks you don’t want to hear from the the Commander-In-Chief say when he’s meeting with America’s most powerful military leaders.
WTF? Yes, Trump really said this about the storm that hit Puerto Rico. We’re sure the loved ones of those who were lost due to Hurricane Maria were so relieved to know that they didn’t perish in a “real catastrophe.” Thank goodness! No doubt Trump thought the real catastrophe was the blow to his ego that came after he made an internet celebrity out of San Juan, Puerto Rico mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who succinctly shamed him for his hurricane response (or lack thereof). Broadway icon Lin Manuel-Miranda also did his part, dropping his perpetually sunny political disposition to tell the president that he’s going to hell.
While we're talking about hell, a little history lesson for Trump: Many of the people who died during Katrina were poor Black people, which led to accusations of racism against the Bush administration for doing too little too late. Given that Puerto Rico is still in dire straits, Trump is not exactly riding a high horse here.
WTF? We didn’t know “hurricane-shaming” was a thing, but apparently Trump has us beat. We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that the president isn’t an expert in Puerto Rican financial affairs, but Puerto Rico, a territory that the U.S. colonized starting in the late 1800s, is currently $73 billion in debt for a variety of complicated reasons (though largely thanks to the American government). None of this should actually matter in the face of a honest-to-goodness humanitarian crisis. The least the federal government could do at this point is, you know, help these American citizens on the island get their water and power back while rebuilding their infrastructure.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, Trump then went on the record and said he’d “wipe out” Puerto Rico’s debt, something Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, is trying to walk back as a big JK.
Furthermore, it’s not lost on us that Trump wasn’t complaining about budget during the aftermath of Harvey and Irma. Hmmm, what changed? We can’t put our finger on it...
— Fifty-eight people lost their lives in a senseless tragedy all because they were attending a country music festival.
— Around 500 other people were injured, and quite a few of those injuries are life-altering.
— This is the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Also, the last time this superlative was used to describe a domestic terrorist attack was only 16 months ago.
— There’ve been almost as many mass shootings in the U.S. as there have been days since the Sandy Hook attack in 2012. Some “miracle.”
— We’ll put it in simple language since we know the president needs short sentences: We live in a pervasive gun culture when there doesn’t need to be one.
It’s only a miracle if the God you pray to is really the Devil.
WTF?: In the middle of a run-of-the-mill photo op with military leaders, Trump inexplicably uttered this to the press on Thursday night. This is definitely at the very bottom on the list of things you want to hear your warhawk president say after calling his North Korean adversary “Rocket Man,” sending more troops to Afghanistan, and considering backing out of nuclear deals left and right.
Lily Herman is a contributing editor at Refinery29. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Glamour, Allure, TIME, Newsweek, Fast Company, and Mashable. Follow her on Twitter. The views expressed are her own.