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Trump Administration Pushes Positive PR Campaign as Puerto Rico's Crisis Continues
As President Donald Trump continues firing off tweets that praise the highly criticized U.S. response to a growing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, other members of his administration are pushing a positive public relations campaign to contradict harrowing on-the-ground reports, according to a memo leaked to Axios Sunday morning.
“In contrast to dire reports from the island, White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert sent West Wing colleagues an unusually upbeat update—leaked to Axios—that points to a rapid recovery no one on the ground is witnessing,” the outlet reports.
“This is still an urgent situation,” Brossert acknowledged in the memo, before adding: “I hope to turn the corner on our public communications.”
Bossert then outlined a PR plan for the coming days:
“The President’s visit Tuesday will inspire the people and let them know we all care,” Bossert added.
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Though there was no mention of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz—whom Trump attacked on Twitter Saturday after she criticized his administration for its limited disaster relief efforts as well as misleading comments about conditions on the island—Bossert noted that Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello “should continue to get more public messaging support from us.”
Although aid is finally reaching some of the island’s more rural regions, many residents of the U.S. commonwealth remain without food, drinking water, fuel, or electricity.
As Reuters reports Sunday:
Federal Emergency Management Administration officials annouced Saturday that a third of the island’s telecommunications network was repaired, but when Reuters reporters spoke with residents of rural towns such as Salinas and Fajardo, many said they not only lacked cell service but also they had not seen any local or federal officials in their areas.
As hundreds of people waited to enter a Fajardo Wal-Mart store on Saturday morning, one resident said: “We haven’t seen a government official or anything, no FEMA, no military, no local government.”
This post has been updated to remove an incorrect political party affiliation for Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello.
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