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Trump helps Florida prep for Hurricane Dorian, but trashed Puerto Rico

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As Hurricane Dorian neared Puerto Rico and Florida this week, the difference in President Donald Trump’s messaging has been extremely stark.

Trump approved a disaster declaration on Tuesday to better coordinate federal and local response efforts. But he took to Twitter that same day to trash the island’s dire financial situation. Then he attacked the mayor of San Juan, and later scolded the island for being ungrateful for the federal aid its received — from its own government.

Read more: Multiple natural disasters have reportedly stretched FEMA’s disaster response workforce to the brink

Here’s a brief timeline of the president’s Hurricane Dorian-related tweets:

  • August 27: “Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end? Congress approved 92 Billion Dollars for Puerto Rico last year, an all time record of its kind for ‘anywhere.'”
  • August 28: “We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico. FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You – Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!”
  • August 28: “Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!…. And by the way, I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!”

When the island avoided a direct hit, he praised the Federal Emergency Management Administration and first responders while warning Florida to “get ready” for a “BIG” storm.

  • August 29: Puerto Rico is in great shape with Hurricane Dorian taking a largely different route than anticipated. Thank you to FEMA, first responders, and all, for working so hard & being so well prepared. A great result! The bad news, Florida get ready! Storm is building and will be BIG!

Trump has repeatedly attacked Puerto Rico over the course of his presidency. After Hurricane Maria struck the island, killing around 3,000 people, Trump absolved himself of any blame for the slow arrival of federal aid and disputed the death toll. He tweeted, “3,000 people did not die.”

Read more: Trump reportedly suggested using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from striking the US

As Hurricane Dorian barreled towards the Florida coast — currently projected to make landfall as a major hurricane — Trump’s message veered in the opposite direction: The full might of the American government stands ready to help. And he urged Floridians to follow the instructions of state and local governments.

  • August 29: “Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night. Be prepared and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!”

In between tweets slamming former FBI director James Comey and MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, Trump released a video on Thursday where he warned of “an absolute monster” on its way to Florida.

“We’re ready. We have the best people in the world ready and they’re going to help you,” Trump said. “They’re shipping food, they’re shipping water.”

He ended the video by telling Floridians: “Be aware, and be safe. And God bless you.”

Trump approved a similar disaster declaration for Florida on Friday, ordering FEMA to coordinate with the state and local government to “avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 67 Florida counties.”

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