Speed Reads

Puerto Rico in ruins

The White House has a plan to 'turn the corner' on its Puerto Rico public messaging situation

President Trump spent the weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, and in between telephone briefings on the situations in Puerto Rico and North Korea and, apparently, a round of golf, Trump was active on Twitter, alternating praise for his government's efforts to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria and attacking San Juan's mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, as ungrateful and "nasty."

Trump is said to be frustrated by the TV reports from Puerto Rico showing the dire situation on the ground with suggestions that federal mismanagement is hindering relief efforts. On Sunday, Axios released a leaked internal memo from Trump's homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, with a plan to "turn the corner on our public communications" regarding Puerto Rico, with proposed "themes" for the weekend and upcoming week. This weekend's "general theme" was "supporting the governor and standing with the people of Puerto Rico to get them food, water, shelter, and emergency medical care," Bossert suggested, adding:

Monday and Tuesday we can pivot hopefully to a theme of stabilizing as we address temporary housing and sustaining the flow of commodities and basic government services, including temporary power. After that we focus on restoration of basic services throughout next week and next weekend. Then we start a theme of recovery planning for the bright future that lies ahead for Puerto Rico. Planned hits, tweets, TV bookings, and other work will limit the need for reactionary efforts. The storm caused these problems, not our response to it. [Bossert, via Axios]

The situation in Puerto Rico is still "urgent," Bossert wrote, with only 45 percent of people having access to drinking water and one hospital fully operational, but "the president's visit Tuesday will inspire the people and let them know we all care." You can read the entire memo at Axios.