President Trump was in Puerto Rico on Tuesday to tour the storm-ravaged capital city of San Juan and some of the surrounding suburbs. He met with local officials and residents while helping to hand out much-needed supplies. But that didn’t seem to be good enough for the liberal networks of ABC and CBS. Both bemoaned Trump’s visit and touted those who called it an elaborate photo-op.
At the start of his report on World News Tonight, ABC Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl lamented Trump’s visit altogether. “There’s never been a presidential visit to a disaster zone quote like this one. At a church in San Juan, President Trump tossed paper towels to hurricane victims as if he were playing basketball.”
At a meeting with local officials, Trump noted that the death toll could have been much worse since it only stood at 16. But according to Karl, “Sitting right next to Puerto Rico's governor, he touted the death count as if he were keeping score.”
Karl also championed the anti-Trump mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz for continuing to attack Trump. “Also in the room, the Mayor of San Juan, who the President has slammed relentlessly on Twitter for saying Puerto Rico needs more than it's getting … Afterwards, the Mayor called the meeting productive. But on CNN, she dismissed the presidential visit as public relations.”
Sensationalist ABC Anchor David Muir completely mischaracterized the feud between Cruz and Trump, claiming he attacked her after she begged him for help. Muir didn’t mention that the Mayor smeared Trump by telling the press he was killing them. He also insinuated that Trump said all Puerto Ricans wanted everything done for them when in fact he was talking about politicians like Cruz.
They failed to mention that, up until recently, Cruz was not participating in any of FEMA’s relief meetings. According to The Daily Caller’s Alex Pfeiffer and Peter Hasson:
Guaynabo’s mayor, Angel Perez, said in an interview with The Daily Caller that his experience with the federal government has been different from Cruz’s, in part because — unlike Cruz — he has been participating in meetings with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies.
Meanwhile, on CBS Evening News, Correspondent David Begnaud also criticized Trump’s effort to hand out supplies to the crowd of people. “President Trump seemed unaware that 94 percent the island is still without power. He handed out supplies like prizes, lobbing paper towels into the crowd,” he chided.
With an obvious attitude, Begnaud complained that Trump didn’t visit the rural town he was in two hours outside of San Juan. And he highlighted two women from San Juan who were critical of Trump’s visit. “It's just like he is showing off. It's a show,” one of them said. In contrast, Karl actually talked with a local man who didn’t know Trump was visiting but was grateful he was there.
To be fair, Begnaud had been in Puerto Rico since before Hurricane Maria ripped the island to shreds and had been witnessed their suffering for two weeks. Therefore, it’s understandable that he would be frustrated. But that doesn’t give him license to act like Trump wasn’t trying to help.
World News Tonight
October 3, 2017
6:41:27 PM Eastern
DAVID MUIR: We turn now to President Trump, in Puerto Rico today, meeting with officials including the Mayor of San Juan. She went on live TV begging the administration for help, and he then took aim at her on Twitter. He also tweeted of Puerto Rico, "They want everything done for them." What his message was today when he landed there. ABC's Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl from Puerto Rico.
[Cuts to video]
JON KARL: There’s never been a presidential visit to a disaster zone quote like this one. At a church in San Juan, President Trump tossed paper towels to hurricane victims as if he were playing basketball.
DONALD TRUMP: There's a lot of love in this room.
KARL: Sitting right next to Puerto Rico's governor, he touted the death count as if he were keeping score.
TRUMP: If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, what is your death count as of this moment, 17?
RICARDO ROSSELLO: 16 certified.
TRUMP: 16 people. 16 people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud.
KARL: And even as he talked up the federal recovery effort –
TRUMP: The whole team has been amazing.
KARL: -- The President couldn't help but bring up the high cost.
TRUMP: I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack.
KARL: Also in the room, the Mayor of San Juan, who the President has slammed relentlessly on Twitter for saying Puerto Rico needs more than it's getting.
KARL: CARMEN YULIN CRUZ: Rather than commander-in-chief, he sort of becomes miscommunicator-in-chief.
KARL: Not far from there, we met up with Hector Garcia. He had no idea the President was on the island, but he tells us, he's happy he's here. "He came here," Garcia told us, "Because he knows we're in crisis."
CBS Evening News
October 3, 2017
6:47:11 PM Eastern
DONALD TRUMP: Flashlights. You don’t need them anymore. You don’t need them anymore
DAVID BEGNAUD: President Trump seemed unaware that 94 percent the island is still without power. He handed out supplies like prizes, lobbing paper towels into the crowd.
TRUMP: How did your house do?
BEGNAUD: Flanked by the First Lady, Mr. Trump toured the San Juan suburbs of Guayanabo.
TRUMP: We’re going to help you out. Have a good time.
BEGNAUD: The Trump administration has been criticized for a slow response following Hurricane Maria, but today, the President awarded himself an A+, and congratulated local officials on the relatively low death toll-- 16-- compared to what he called a real catastrophe like Katrina. Mr. Trump also reminded the island of its debts.
BEGNAUD: One place the President did not see is the rural town of Utuado, a two-hour drive from San Juan, and a world away from relief. Here, more than two weeks after the storm, there is no running water, and people are drinking and bathing with water from a stream. In the capital of San Juan, some were unhappy with Mr. Trump's visit.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: It's just like he is showing off. It's a show.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: I don't see that what he said was appropriate to what we are suffering now as a country.