"This Is Textbook" - Military Officials Defend Trump Administration's Puerto Rico Response

A steady drumbeat of criticism accusing the White House of not doing enough to hasten the federal government’s relief effort in Puerto Rico has metastasized into yet another political dogfight, as President Trump and the White House respond to an outpouring of outrage from celebrities, politicians and local officials over the administration’s purported inaction over the response.

The backlash to what we imagine the media will soon tag as “Trump’s Katrina” began earlier this week when Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio urged the president to leverage the full might of the US military to aid the disaster response.

But an emotional plea from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz during a press conference late Friday helped elevate the issue to the forefront of the public’s consciousness, eliciting an avalanche of condemnation from celebrities, Democratic politicians, and basically every group that opposed Trump during the election.

"Hamilton" Writer Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted that Trump would go "straight to hell" for ignoring the Puerto Rican people.

During her remarks, Cruz – who was standing in front of palates full of water, food and supplies – described the situation in Puerto Rico as something akin to “genocide” before blasting the administration for its allegedly sluggish response to the disaster, drawing a harsh response from Trump, which served only to further elevate the controversy.

The media quickly piled on, with the Washington Post publishing yet another “bombshell” report calling out Trump for choosing to spend last weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., which the paper alleged contributed to the inadequate disaster response.

But while the backlash to Trump’s remarks has been swift and loud, assessments of the administration’s handling of the response by military officials (people with disaster-recovery experience) have been notably more measured.

Army Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan said Friday morning that the Pentagon has 10,000 people helping with the response to Hurricanes Maria and Irma – an unprecedented number. But even that number isn’t enough, he said. Fortunately, the Defense Department is sending more, according to Army Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan, who was recently appointed to be the DoD’s liaison with FEMA.  

“We're certainly bringing in more [troops]," Buchanan said on CNN’s “New Day.”


"For example, on the military side, we're bringing in both Air Force, Navy, and Army medical capabilities in addition to aircraft, more helicopters. ... [But] it's not enough, and we're bringing more in.”

As the Hill points out, the Pentagon initially sent 4,000 troops to help in rescue and restoration efforts to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but it wasn’t until Thursday, eight days after Maria slammed the Caribbean, that US Northern Command (Northcom) sent Buchanan. However, at least one administration official quickly pointed out that the early phases of the relief effort had been coordinated by the Navy, and that Buchanan's appointment coincided with FEMA taking the reins of the recovery effort.

However, Tom Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser, defended the lag between when the storm hit and when Buchanan was appointed.


“It didn’t require a three-star general eight days ago,” Bossert said of the government response.


When asked whether it was a mistake to not have Buchanan on the ground in Puerto Rico earlier, Bossert replied, “No, not at all.”


“In fact, that doesn’t affect the way that we stage equipment and the way we area command and field operational command. This is textbook and it’s been done well,” Bossert told reporters Thursday at the daily White House press briefing.

Indeed, while the media and Trump’s political opponents have implied that the administration waited until this week to organize a meaningful response to the disaster, in reality, the Pentagon has been steadily increasing its help to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands after both were slammed by the two Category 5 storms. The Pentagon began deploying more resources early this week, opening a second airfield at the former Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, preparing the hospital ship USNS Comfort to deploy from Norfolk and establishing a caravan of cargo jets filled with equipment and supplies.

As we’ve reported many times, Hurricane Maria - following just two weeks behind Hurricane Irma, another devastating storm - caused unprecedented damage to Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, destroying roads, devastating power grids, and cutting off communications. With many parts of the island completely cut off from the outside world, it was difficult for the military to assess the true extent of the damage and scale up operations accordingly.

In yet another example of how Trump’s opponents have twisted or ignored facts when spinning a self-serving narrative about the administration’s response, Rubio said Friday on CNN that Trump should put the US military in charge of handling and delivering aid to Puerto Rico – ignoring the fact that, until late this week, the Navy had been supervising the response from the sea.

Poviding a notable counterpoint to Mayor Cruz's criticisms, Puerto Rico Gov. Riccardo Rossello has repeatedly thanked and praised the federal response. In a mid-day tweet, Trump thanked Rossello for his praise.  

Trump praised another Puerto Rican politician, Congresswoman Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon, claiming that she has been "wonderful to deal with"...

...And asked the Puerto Rican people not to pay attention to the "fake news."

In an interview with ABC, an anonymous White House official pointed out the irony in Cruz's remarks: Namely, she's been spending more time speaking to the media than helping out herself.

“She has been invited to FEMA command center several times to see operations and be part of efforts but so far has refused to come, maybe too busy doing TV?"

While criticism has focused on Trump's reluctance to wave the Jones Act and send in the military, the response hasn't foundered for lack of supplies. Already has hundreds of thousands of pounds of food, water and other emergency necessitites stuck in Puerto Rican ports. The problems are related to circumstances on the ground. The country’s devastated roads, and a shortage of truckers to drive the supplies into devastated areas, has arguably been the biggest impediment to the recovery effort.

But perhaps most tellingly of all, former Navy Captain Jerry Hendrix – a veteran of several disaster response efforts who has no connection to the Trump administration – told Bloomberg that he believed criticisms of the administration’s efforts have been unfair.

Hendrix explained that the Pentagon and FEMA weren’t being recognized for their careful preparations for the storms.

TH: So, it seems like everybody has blasted Trump administration's response to the Puerto Rico crisis. Has that criticism been fair?


JH: No, I don’t think so. First of all, there was a fair amount of anticipatory action that is not being recognized. Amphibious ships, including the light amphibious carriers Kearsarge and Wasp and the amphibious landing ship dock Oak Hill were at sea and dispatched to Puerto Rico ahead of the hurricane’s impact.

So far, 16 deaths have been recorded on the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which made landfall a week-and-a-half ago as a category four storm. More than 80% of the island is without power, and about 40% doesn't have access to potable water. Still, roads are being cleared, airports are reopening, and cell service is being restored. Soon, the public's attention will shift to the mainland, as tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans who’ve seen their homes destroyed by the storms flee the island to stay with relatives until they’re ready to return to the island.

For what it’s worth, mayors of cities with large Puerto Rican populations like New York and Orlando say they are working with the federal goernment to accomodate the influx of temporary residents. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has said he expects up to 100,000 disaster victims to stay with relatives and friends in NYC alone.

However, the question remains: When their time comes, will they also denounce the federal response to score cheap political points?


Dilluminati Sat, 09/30/2017 - 17:35 Permalink

I can't give a fuck what the fake news says.  I read more articles about guns, reloading and such than the fucking fish rag and dog pad fake news!  

aurum4040 UndergroundPost Sat, 09/30/2017 - 18:06 Permalink

Troops were down as soon as they possibly could. The day after the hurricane, Curt Schilling was on Hannity or Tucker I can't remember. Schilling organized his own relief effort with a good amount of ex-Seals, Rangers, and Spec Ops, bringing a good amount of supplies to PR.  At the time,Schilling said they werent cleared to leave yet because they couldn't safely land a plane or safely get around the island to even help people out. And who didn't clear them? The Navy, because they were down there ASAP busting ass, getting shit cleared out, assessing the situation. You just don't jump into something like that.

In reply to by UndergroundPost

nmewn aurum4040 Sat, 09/30/2017 - 20:13 Permalink

Yeah, there's people from Fla down there too, been down there since a couple days after. The problem (as always) is getting supplies to where they are needed because of the roads being impassable until cleared. Its easy enough to recognize what I'm saying by looking at any pictures coming out of there...at least besides the pictures where the Mayor of San Juan is using pallets of food, water & supplies as back drops for a photo-op (lol)...power poles, tree's & debris are laying parallel to roads in the pictures. The hurricane didn't neatly lay them down at the curb just off the road like that, like some idiot prog city dweller is expected to do on trash pickup day in the suburbs of San Francisco, it all had to be cut/moved to get it out of the way. As an aside, just as with Irma here in Fla (what little we got of her here) things such as this (tree's in the road to drive around, power poles cut into pieces laying next to newly planted poles waiting on wire etc) become the "new normal" as you creep back to the "old normal" of the way it was before. It takes time, Cat5's will screw shit up like that ;-)

In reply to by aurum4040

The Alarmist nmewn Sat, 09/30/2017 - 21:10 Permalink

Fake Media can get away with it because many of us on the mainland can't picture power and water being out more than a couple days and expect petrol being available and stores restocked in pretty much the same time because these things can be trucked in in mass quantities in short order directly to the retail points. I lived on a smaller island years ago, and the favourite phrase of the local merchants was "next boat," which meant about a month. Yeah, you can move things in a matter of days, but mass quantities take longer, and you always have the infamous 'last-mile' problem of getting it to the consemers' hands.

In reply to by nmewn

nmewn The Alarmist Sat, 09/30/2017 - 21:47 Permalink

Thats really the thing, the logistics of it. You can get it "onshore" and into the port/warehouse but getting into the hills is the real problem, roads & bridges are washed out, tree's in the way etc. The people in the city actually have it better than in the countryside but when one is used to flipping a switch and the lights coming on or turning the faucet and potable water coming out...and it doesn't...thats what "their problem" is...the people out of the city have it much worse...and of course they don't want to leave whatever possessions they have left. I would imagine they are just like we were but on a MUCH LARGER scale, going out to see what can be found (drinking water first then fuel & food). As weird as it will sound to people who have never been through one of these things, we were "excited" to even find ice...lol.Its all relative to the circumstances one finds themselves in..."I have no internet and my cell phone is dead! WTF!"  Yeah, well, poor babies ;-)

In reply to by The Alarmist

auricle Sat, 09/30/2017 - 17:37 Permalink

a shortage of truckers to drive the supplies into devastated areas, has arguably been the biggest impediment to the recovery effort.Nobody knows how to drive a truck on that island? 

johand inmywallet auricle Sat, 09/30/2017 - 17:48 Permalink

Its not a question of knowing how to drive a truck, but getting the trucks where they need to go. The roads are nearly impassible. The utility poles that were blown over have rebar reinforcing the pole itself, its not like you can take a chain saw and just cut through those things. There are so many trees down and mudslides as you go to towns in the interior, just getting the heavy machines necessary to clear the roads to the work sites is a chore in itself. The corp of engineers have drivers to haul containers, they can't get through the debris, it will take a long time just to get the damn roads cleared.Here is a sitrep from stationed Army personnel, have a read.https://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/340602-Sitrep-from-…

In reply to by auricle

nmewn FORD_FIESTA Sat, 09/30/2017 - 20:57 Permalink

Well, theres a lot of good people in PR, they're not all like the mayor of San Juan...sniveling little bitches, pointing their bony fingers at everyone else while doing absolutely nothing for anyone themselves. The other good thing to take away from all this is, there is no .gov on errrf that can make all of this unpleasantness go away by just snapping its fingers.Which proves many of the points that have been made over the years against unicornish dreamy fantasies of the "omnipotent centrally planned government" made by progs ;-)

In reply to by FORD_FIESTA

Zero-Hegemon FORD_FIESTA Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:01 Permalink

Yes, I strongly encourage you to rush in with an ax to start hacking at downed utility poles with potentially live wires hanging off and around them like a tangled mess of rubber-encased metal sphagetti.Let me know, and I'll start my stopwatch and let you know how long you last.Amazes me how some people don't realize how dangerous the aftermath of a hurricane, even a CAT2, can be. Even though the power is out does not mean, at all, that any downed wires are not live.In this disaster scenario, your first responders are the line workers.

In reply to by FORD_FIESTA

alexcojones Sat, 09/30/2017 - 17:44 Permalink

Auricle+1 Saw a MSM interview with reporter standing in front of massive parking lot of containers.Obviously, nobody drives there, so Uber should make lots of $$$

Rebelrebel7 Sat, 09/30/2017 - 17:49 Permalink

I find  it outrageous but way too typical that a Democratic politician is blaming a Republican president for a natural disaster! That is absolutely a disgusting display of passing the buck! The same thing happened during Katrina! The Army Corps of engineers had warned the governor and mayor a decade prior to Katrina that the levees wouldn't hold, Louisiana received federal funding for repairing the levee,  which they did not use to repair the levee, and it is the governor's responsibility to call up the National Guard, which the governor did not do, and then blamed Bush for that, even though it unconstitutional for a president to do that.We are still trying to cope with Texas, and the heroin and poverty epidemic in America. Puerto Rico and Israel are not American states.It really doesn't pay to help anyone if thery are blaming you for natural disasters and their own lack of preparedness now, does it?!That is outrageous!

Cash Is King Sat, 09/30/2017 - 21:21 Permalink

Blame H.I.M for everything!


The left is never going to let this guy up for air and they are tearing this Country apart! Good people were taught when you win you win with humility and when you lose you lose with grace but these asshoes can't spell grace, have no class, zero respect for the office and won't quit till the rest throws in the towel & gives up. I got news for ya guys, better bring your lunch cause most people I know would gladly remove you all from the equation than just quit & comply.


bkboy Sat, 09/30/2017 - 17:54 Permalink

I live in the SF Bay Area and expect to experience a large earthquake at some point in the future.  We have stockpiled food, water and medical supplies to survive several weeks without any assistance from any government authority.  I have bolted our house to its foundation and installed earthquake resistant sheathing on all exterior walls.  If our house still collapses, I assume my neighbors without collapsed houses will help dig me out if I am alive; if not, that is a risk I am willing to take and have taken.Having done all that, I would welcome any assitance that came my way, regardless of how little it was or how long it took to arrive.  I think most people understand the meaning of "don't look a gift horse in the mounth", but apparently the meaning has been lost on Ms. Cruz.Now to Ms. Cruz.  As a mayor of a large city in hurricane alley that is on an island, I assume she was fully briefed upon taking office that one of her most important jobs was to ensure public safety in the event a hurricane.  Also, I assume she must have known that a Cat 5 hurricane would wipe out the electrical grid and that assistance from others would have to come by sea, meaning delay in obtaining emergency supplies.  So the first question I would be asking her if I was a reporter would be: please identify all of the food, water and emergency power supplies you stockpiled during your term as Mayor?

Pernicious Gol… Sat, 09/30/2017 - 17:59 Permalink

If President Trump gave every Democrat and RINO in the US a 50 kilogram bar of 24 karat gold, they would complain about the color and weight.(The people on ZH would complain about the price.)

az_patriot Sat, 09/30/2017 - 18:01 Permalink

The left and the media are only entertaining themselves with their unending piles of horseshit.  Everyone who voted for Trump knows full well he's the subject of unfair, unending, mean-spirited, and just downright evil attacks.  The man is still standing and should be commended.  Actually, he'll probably be re-elected.  Trump's base is strong and more supportive than ever.

StarGate az_patriot Sat, 09/30/2017 - 23:36 Permalink

The only ones who have a chance of seeing Trump clearly are his supporters. Most can see the warts but also see someone actually doing the best he can against enormous odds.

Confess to being a "recovering liberal" and "closet conservative". Before actually studying the issues believed most (but not all) the leftist baloney. But upon deep review of the facts that brain fog ended. However majority of friends and family are Leftist and thus must endure all the truly insane malicious Trump hatred and erroneous ridicule for the sake of peace. They are bereft of reason on the topic.

Reality is though Leftists are just plain politically blind.
They only thing they have correct is ecology and even that they see through a falsely constructed "climate change" prop.

In reply to by az_patriot

skinwalker Sat, 09/30/2017 - 18:06 Permalink

It doesn't matter. Trump could personally cure pancreatic cancer, eliminate poverty and invent the warp drive, and the left would still say he's Hitler's evil twin.

It's become a religion for them.

On an unconscious level, they know they have nothing of value to offer the world, and that they don't deserve the astounding luxury they live in. Rather than work to rectify this, they will viciously attack anyone who threatens to hold up a mirror and show them what they really are.

Global Douche Faeriedust Sat, 09/30/2017 - 23:01 Permalink

I was in Nebraska 2 days ago. An Omaha radio morning show was talking about a Blair, NE woman whose children had apparently left their bicycles either on their sidewalk or property. A neighbor with knee problems and therapy was taking a walk and tripped over the bikes, got mad and threw both into a dumpster, leaving behind an obscenity-laden note behind.Others in Blair defended the kids. One old codger with a Trump-grade filter opined loudly "I hope she has knee problems the rest of her life!"

In reply to by Faeriedust

Ms No mastersnark Sat, 09/30/2017 - 18:32 Permalink

They're worse.  It's the Marxist factor.  Mexicans have work ethic and are less Marxist.  Mexicans also actually like Americans.  PRs hate us.  I considered moving to Isabela for a while.  I sat there once talking to people about how hostile the locals can be there when you are out of tourist areas (especially the grungy looking ghetto bitches in tube tops and six inch heels).  I talked about how all of San Juan has bars on their windows and how unsafe it felt to have that throng of building anger, crime and Marxism just down the road.  Their numbers are massive and the white areas small.  I talked about how I noticed that most of their art depicted violent revolutionary revenge.  Pretty much everybody agreed that someday the locals would break loose and ravage everybody white there.  Mexicans aren't that bad.Although I have to say Mexicans are dirty.  I went to this Mexican Laundromat for a while when I first moved to Scottsdale.  It was next to Paradise Valley and North Pheonix.  It was just a weird ghetto out of nowhere, I think they call it the square.  They actually had super clean machines and nice employees.  I washed my dogs hairy bed there (I cleaned it afterwards).  I had to give that shit up when a black dude with afro pig tails came in and beat the shit out of their coin machine while I was the only other one in there (the place opened at 6:00 but nobody attended it until about 8.  There is a Mexican deli next door and there are guys in there). I also had a new Mexican who had pissed himself try to sell me a stolen bike.  For the grand finale I walked out once with this white guy that had a Brazilian wife.  When we walked out I began to literally wretch at the stench of sewer.  It was just this gas cloud of sewer bomb out of nowhere.  The white guy says they were cleaning out drains.  I said WTF do you mean?  Is this the city or the establishment?  He said it came from the deli place and where ever the hell their liquids drained to.  Apparently they periodically plug the drainage with lard and have to suck it out which causes sewer issues of flowback.  White guy told me that last time this happened he got sprayed with raw sewage on his legs.  Whoa bitch whoa!  I never saw or verified this drainage or archaic process because my ass was out of there like lightning.That's where they all get their food around there.

In reply to by mastersnark

StarGate Ms No Sat, 09/30/2017 - 23:10 Permalink

Lived with upper class as exchange student in Mexico as a youth. Found these Mexicans gracious, friendly, well educated and cultured. They lived a life separate from the lower classes. There was a mix of European expats among the upper class.

Though it was many years ago, returned as an adult and traveled throughout Mexico for 6 months among the middle and poor class, living their life and seeing much of the country. The towns were clean and simple. The people were polite, often friendly and hard working but also celebrated family while maintaining their culture. As you got deeper into the country the mix became more Indian and less Latino.

About the only people you had to worry about were the Federales - the police. Abuse of power and bribery.

In reply to by Ms No

Ms No StarGate Sun, 10/01/2017 - 00:41 Permalink

If you hang out with upper classes just about anywhere they live pretty decent but Mexico is one of the highest risk places for travelers diarrhea for a reason.  Even if you don't drink the water many municipalities have literal dried shit particles in the air and the subsequent bacteria.  Mexico City has over 20 million and they are just now talking about building the biggest municipal sewer project in the world.  Apparently only 15% of Mexico City's waste water is currently treated and that is the most modern system.  They also use this sewage on their crops. Interesting facts on Montezuma's revenge: "Untreated bacterial diarrhea usually lasts 3–7 days. Viral diarrhea generally lasts 2–3 days. Protozoal diarrhea can persist for weeks to months without treatment."https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/the-pre-travel-consultation/travelers-diarrheahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_management_in_Greater_Mexico_CityThis is why I don't buy Mexican produce.  Human shit specifically carries diseases made to infect us.  "For more than 100 years, most of what gets flushed down Mexico City’s toilets has resurfaced two hours to the north in the rivers and reservoirs of the rural Mezquital Valley. A massive new water treatment plant is about to change this.But rather than welcoming the prospect of cleaner water, angry farmers are demanding the government honor an 1895 presidential decree granting them the right to the capital’s untreated sewage, which they see as fertilizer-rich, if foul, irrigation water."http://www.registercitizen.com/business/article/In-Mexico-fears-a-new-plant-will-kill-wastewater-11960387.php

In reply to by StarGate

Ms No Sat, 09/30/2017 - 18:14 Permalink

Soros has no doubt already supplied airfare for the throngs of Marxists on Puerto Rico.  They're all coming here.  You can't have an island with that high of population with no real resources and survive.  At least Venezuela has resources.  Puerto Rico is a giant sucking sound of your Grandchildren's future gone.  If look back into ancient history all islands eventually grow until the starve and have no fire wood.  Japan was one exception.  They managed resources and their population growth.  There is also nothing more vulnerable strategically than an island.  They are always under the control of bigger fish because they can't survive on their own.  You add Marxism to that and the place is worthless.  Give them them their independence and they will starve unless some other power comes in supports ever inch of their existence.  It will take at least two generations to even hope to fix their level of indoctrination.  They will eventually be Haiti anyway because the US will become too broke to support them.  They will bring them here and add to the Bolshevik voter and riot tally.  This is the fall of Rome.

FoggyWorld Sat, 09/30/2017 - 18:22 Permalink

We made it through Sandy and I am here to tell you the clean up and recovery here still isn't over.  It takes time and those folks need to wake up and understand that they are going to have to pitch in and do all sorts of work themselves to bring that island back.  And I mean work of all sorts that they never did before.Sandy was a coastal problem so behind us the rest of the States involved were running normally and that made it possible for us to get out to buy the tools to buckle down and start our huge Do-It-Yourself program.   FEMA isn't there to help residential owners but their focus is on infrastructure and to redo that island is just going to take time - years.   They are getting more help than we did and don't seem to be grateful at all which in the long run isn't going to help them.   People will donate to known good organizations but if the vibes coming out of PR continue to send off blame game tunes, an awful lot of wallets will stay shut.Storms and hurricanes are part of that island way of life and they know that and as people are asking here, what did they do to prepare?   Looks like nothing so given that everything will have to be shipped in or flown in, this Act of God as it would have been called ten years ago, can't be fixed overnight by any one party or government. 

Blankone FoggyWorld Sat, 09/30/2017 - 19:32 Permalink

I am just going by the photo's I have seen. From that:
Where are the photo's of the people doing for themselves?
Where are the photo's of local contractors, without a contract, clearing local streets.
How about the local private organizations, I see no evidence of them coming together and making an impact.
Have the local supermarket chains done anything?
Where are the photo's of local country boys running around in tall pickup trucks, bass boats (or other boats), canoes, trucks pulling trailers to haul junk to designated areas etc...

All of that was seen in Texas. Country boys came from western Louisiana even, HEB put food on trucks (not just any food but they selected the most needed food/supplies) and got it moving even though their store might be destroyed in that area, local furniture chain gave away FREE bottled water and some supplies to all, rednecks with chain saws did not wait around for the national guard, more stranded people were picked up by private boats than govt ones.

And PR electrical system seems to be so destroyed because PR did not maintain it and it was substandard. Not just the lines and poles but the substations. (From what I have read from others.)

In reply to by FoggyWorld

Metastatic Debt Sat, 09/30/2017 - 18:42 Permalink

Let go Puerto Rico. It is a failed state. Adds nothing to the economy. Adds nothing to our defense. It is thick in debt. Is a non-functioning corrupt territory. We already have Detroit. The US does not need another lost cause.