Phony CNN Journalist Lets Guest Blame Trump for Deaths on Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria

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In a truly disgusting display of partisanship during CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront Thursday, former Obama administration official (who's now passed off as a journalist), Jim Sciutto allowed Democratic strategist Maria Cardona to claim President Trump was responsible for the 3,000 Puerto Ricans who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The premise of the segment, set up by CNN and Sciutto, was that Trump didn’t care about Hurricane Dorian possibly hitting the U.S. territory (which it missed) but was worried for Florida, where he “owns nine properties and it's also a state he won in the 2016 election”.

Of course, the Democratic strategist agreed with CNN’s prescribed, hours-old narrative:

Look, the hurricane is now headed to Florida which is as you mentioned, it has nine Trump properties. It also has 29 electoral votes versus Puerto Rico where there are certainly 3 million American citizens, which I think this president forgets conveniently. But that are Hispanic, they speak Spanish, and clearly zero electoral votes.

“Scott, do you have an explanation why the President behaves differently as the hurricane barrels down on Puerto Rico versus Florida,” Sciutto sneered as he turned to former George W. Bush official Scott Jennings.

Jennings took the reasonable approach and noted that “the President has well-known problems with the way Puerto Rico is managed in any objective observer would argue that Florida is a much better-managed piece of land than Puerto Rico is.”

 

 

During one of Cardona’s answers, she asserted that the President didn’t care about Puerto Rico because he was a racist. When Jennings pushed back, she argued that “it's kind of obvious.”

“Well, the majority of people in Puerto Rico see it. They can't stand Donald Trump and they can't stand him because how he reacted to them during Hurricane Maria,” Cardona declared just before making her ghoulish accusation. “Because of how he denied his vial response that frankly led to 3,000 deaths of American citizens and to this day he hasn't been able to live up to that.”

That kicked off a heated back and forth between her and Jennings that was only stopped when Sciutto wanted to end the discussion (click “expand” to read):

JENNINGS: The hurricane -- the hurricane led to deaths. The hurricane -- the hurricane led to deaths, Maria.

CARDONA: His response led to their deaths as well, the lack of a response, the lack of his humanity.

JENNINGS: Lack of a response? U.S. government has spent billions there. We had massive amounts of resources there. He did respond.

CARDONA: The lack of his caring. Yes, the lack of his caring is has led to the deaths.

JENNINGS: It’s not true.

SCIUTTO: We’re going have to leave it there.

CARDONA: It is true.

The truth of the matter, which Sciutto refused to mention, was that the federal government did give a tremendous amount of support to Puerto Rico (see examples from MRC Latino and NewsBusters here, here, here, and here). But because the corruption and inept management of the island’s government, and the scale of the destruction of vital infrastructure by the storm, the relief effort was greatly hampered.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront
August 29, 2019
7:14:44 p.m. Eastern

JIM SCIUTTO: Tonight, President Trump's dramatic change in tone on Hurricane Dorian. Now that the storm is barreling towards Florida where the President, of course, owns nine properties and it's also a state he won in the 2016 election, he is praising the state's leadership and urging everyone to be careful.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Unfortunately, the bad news is it looks like it's going to be making a turn into Florida. We’re very ready also in Florida. And we have a great governor there. He’s incredible, doing an incredible job.

SCIUTTO: Well just yesterday as the hurricane was poised to hit Puerto Rico, the President called the island “one of the most corrupt places on Earth.” Lashing out against the island's leaders and complaining about disaster relief funding.

OutFront now, Scott Jennings, he served as special assistant to President George W. Bush and is a CNN political commentator, and Maria Cardona, she’s a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator.

Maria, you look at that very different tone from the President as the hurricane was headed towards Puerto Rico versus Florida. What's behind it?

MARIA CORDONA: You know, sadly it is something that is incredibly infuriating but not surprising after the vial way in which Trump responded to -- to Hurricane Maria two years ago. It shouldn't surprise us.

Look, the hurricane is now headed to Florida which is as you mentioned, it has nine Trump properties. It also has 29 electoral votes versus Puerto Rico where there are certainly 3 million American citizens, which I think this president forgets conveniently. But that are Hispanic, they speak Spanish, and clearly zero electoral votes.

(…)

SCIUTTO: Scott, do you have an explanation why the President behaves differently as the hurricane barrels down on Puerto Rico versus Florida?

SCOTT JENNINGS: Well, first of all, I'm grateful that the hurricane is not hitting Puerto Rico. And I'm sad and will pray for people in Florida because the hurricane is hitting them. That's number one. Number two, I think the President has well-known problems with the way Puerto Rico is managed in any objective observer would argue that Florida is a much better managed piece of land than Puerto Rico is.

(…)

JENNINGS: But to argue that the President of the United States only cares about Florida because it is a state that has electoral votes or to argue that he doesn't care about Puerto Rico because it has people who are Hispanic when a quarter to 30 percent of Florida is also Hispanic, I think only the most mindless partisan would argue that.

This is a hurricane, an emergency situation. Florida gets hit with hurricanes all the time. And so, if your argument is the President should turn a blind eye towards this, I don't even know what to say to that.

(…)

JENNINGS: And so I think the President should not go on political attacks during storms. I'm with you on that but I think to argue this is race-based or political-based when the storm is barreling do down? I don't see it. I don't see it.

CARDONA: It's kind of obvious. Well, the majority of people in Puerto Rico see it. They can't stand Donald Trump and they can't stand him because how he reacted to them during Hurricane Maria. Because of how he denied his vial response that frankly led to 3,000 deaths of American citizens and to this day he hasn't been able to live up to that.

JENNINGS: The hurricane -- the hurricane led to deaths. The hurricane -- the hurricane led to deaths, Maria.

CARDONA: His response led to their deaths as well, the lack of a response, the lack of his humanity.

JENNINGS: Lack of a response? U.S. government has spent billions there. We had massive amounts of resources there. He did respond.

CARDONA: The lack of his caring. Yes, the lack of his caring is has led to the deaths.

JENNINGS: It’s not true.

SCIUTTO: We’re going have to leave it there.

CARDONA: It is true.

NB Daily Environment Hurricanes Hurricane Maria Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Labeling Cable Television CNN Erin Burnett OutFront Video Maria Cardona Jim Sciutto Donald Trump

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