Schumer Called Trump Cruel, And It Hardly Made A Ripple
Sometimes it's worthwhile to stop and take stock of where we are, to consider what is common nowadays.
For instance, it caught my ear when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused
President Trump of cruelty today for telling the Republican senators to oppose aid for Puerto Rico. (In the speech below.)
It's not very long ago that a statement from the head of the minority party in the Senate about the president not only would have gotten headlines, but probably would have been discussed for days.
Now, hardly a ripple.
Maybe it's because people who hate Trump already agree, and people who like him have essentially tuned out criticism, which is nearly constant.
Schumer's full line was: "It is hard to fathom the depths of cruelty that it takes for the president to treat the people of Puerto Rico this way. They are American citizens."
The backstory to Schumer's charge is that Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, had worked out a disaster relief package with, among others, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) that helped Puerto Rico, and states such as Perdue's Georgia, still reeling from last summer's storms. It was less helpful to Puerto Rico than what the House passed two months ago, but Leahy told me he had buy-in from the House, and the new version was acceptable there.
This Republican-only version is not, and I'm told Democrats in the Senate will block it next week until Puerto Rico's needs are met, as well.
For his part, Trump at least cared enough to make a counter claim when he left the White House Thursday night for a rally in Michigan.
"I've taken better care of Puerto Rico than any man ever," Trump said. "Puerto has been taken care of better by Donald Trump than by any living human being. And I think the people of Puerto Rico understand it," he insisted.
Trump told his senators two days ago that he's already giving Puerto Rico $91 billion.
However, leaving out the fact that Congress appropriates money, not the president, Puerto Rico has received only about $11 billion of $41 billion passed by lawmakers so far. Trump's estimate appears to be based on how much money the federal government might have to spend on the storm-stricken territory eventually, but it certainly has not happened yet.
New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez, one of three Puerto Ricans in Congress, sent me a very different take from Trumps for my Daily News story.
“I’m not sure if he misspoke, but Donald Trump has done more to harm Puerto Rico than anyone else. This Administration’s response to Maria was shamefully inadequate from the beginning and Donald Trump needs to own it," she said.
To bring this back around, a Senate leader calling the president cruel hardly rates notice in a world dominated by Trump.