It’s been over a week since Jacqui Gormley has heard from her son, who was in Puerto Rico with his grandmother when Hurricane Maria hit. Desperate and running out of options, Gormley had a strong message for President Donald Trump during an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin.
“I really don’t need to hear about who’s kneeling and who’s standing; that’s not what’s important right now,” she told CNN. “He needs to just step up to the plate and be our fearless leader and handle this situation.
“It’s not a Third World country,” Gormley continued, “and it looks like that’s where it’s headed to, and he is not really doing what he is supposed to be doing. He’s supposed to be there helping them and letting them get the services they need, or at least funding them and not just taking his time to do so.”
Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria and the damage it wreaked on Puerto Rico has been anemic, especially in comparison with the recent hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida.
According to another CNN story, when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the number of Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal workers, as well as the National Guard, topped 31,000. When Florida was hit by Hurricane Irma, that number was more than 40,000. Trump visited the states within days of their respective disasters.
The president is scheduled to visit the island on Tuesday—nearly two weeks after the storm made landfall. He’s blamed the island’s geography for the lethargic response, but according to the Washington Post, eight days after the hurricane hit, only 4,400 Army service members were on the island providing assistance. In contrast, the Post writes, the Pentagon had dispatched 8,000 troops to Haiti a mere two days after an earthquake devastated the country in 2010.
As he often does, Trump blamed the media for unfair coverage, tweeting out that FEMA and first responders were doing a “great job,” before adding, “Wish press would treat fairly!”
In an earlier interview with CBS, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz also praised FEMA workers, who she said were “dying to go out in the streets and save people.” But, she said, they couldn’t, because they were waiting on orders from the Trump administration.
Jacqui Gormley, meanwhile, just wants to know that her son is OK. As she told CNN, her son is asthmatic and has a prescription that needs refilling. The desperate mother has filled out form after form, called hotlines, emailed her congressman and posted to numerous social media accounts in hopes of finding him.
Gormley says the lack of response is uncalled for.
“This should not be happening, not to me, not to any other mother out there,” she said. “It shouldn’t be happening to any of us.”