Talking Points

Trump is about to bungle another natural disaster

While the third night of the Republican National Convention progressed, Hurricane Laura was bearing down on Louisiana and Texas. At time of writing, it had reportedly strengthened nearly to Category 5 status, and may end up being one of the 10 strongest hurricanes ever recorded making landfall on the continental U.S.

Yet the looming hurricane was barely mentioned during the night's convention proceedings, including a brief note during the opening prayer and a short aside from Vice President Mike Pence. "Our administration is working closely with authorities in the states that will be impacted," he said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency "has mobilized resources and supplies for those in harm's way."

In reality, there is little doubt that the Trump administration is going to botch the response to this onrushing disaster. Trump did not manage the response to Hurricane Harvey well, and did almost nothing in response to Hurricane Maria. In Puerto Rico after the latter storm, nearly 3,000 people died in large part because the island went so long without power, cleanup, or rebuilding. We are also months into a viral pandemic that he has catastrophically bungled.

What's more, today state budgets have been hamstrung by the coronavirus economic collapse, and Republicans refuse to rescue them. Trump also recently diverted a bunch of FEMA money to pay for a brief boost to unemployment benefits because his party didn't want to authorize additional funding through Congress. When a gormless reality TV host is president, this is the kind of thing that tends to happen.