A year ago, Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, and the country recently released that researchers at The George Washington University estimate that nearly 3,000 people died in the aftermath of the storm.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump falsely denied the reality when he tweeted that the death toll was drummed up by the Democrats in order to “make him look bad.”
This came a day after Trump claimed his administration did a “great job” helping the people of Puerto Rico.
Prior to the Boston Red Sox’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park, manager Alex Cora, a Puerto Rico native, responded to Trump’s insensitive tweets.
“The timing, I thought he was going to mention something in a few days, Sept. 16. Now that he got ahead of himself,” Cora said, via WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “You know, 3,000, six, 18. I don’t know. We will never know how many, how many we lost. I hate that people that make it a political issue. This is about human beings. The people that went through this, they know what happened. You know, we have, our population, 19 percent of our population are elderly. It’s old people, just put it that way. And the effect of Sept. 16, the rain, and the winds and whatever happens, maybe 18 people died. But the after effects, people don’t talk about that. And when you don’t have food, you don’t have water, no communication, no medicine, then this happened. And one thing for sure, we — the government helped. We do feel that they helped us. I don’t know if it was efficient, it was enough, I don’t know.
“The one thing for sure, the Red Sox helped. The Cubs, the Pirates, the Houston Astros. There’s a lot of people in the states that they’re still helping us. To be tweeting about 3,000 people and be efficient, it’s actually disrespectful for my country. We see it that way. I know probably he doesn’t feel that way. And like I said, hey man, thank you for helping us. He went down there, he did what he did. I hate talking about politics and all that, but I think this is more than politics. This is about a country that really suffered, we still, you see the hurricanes forming now. Everybody’s panicking. It’s not easy. One thing’s for sure, and I told you guys before, one thing I’m proud, we’re standing up on our own two feet. Like, do we need help? Yeah, we do. We know that. But we’ve been battling through it. We’re not where we were. But we will be there. And it’s just a matter of time. But you know it’s a little bit kind of like frustrating that the topic keeps coming and coming and coming. What’s the point, honestly? And I respect him. He’s the president of the United States. But I don’t agree with a lot of stuff that he says about us.
“I mean, like last year, when Mr. Crane got that plane, he got us a plane. It was 150 passengers. And like I said, that day was, when I was in the baggage claim, at the airport, and Mr. Crane was right there, I’ve never seen so many people being so grateful of somebody. I mean, there were people that they were sick. Young kids. You know, my kids were there, they were, what, three months old. You know to be able for them to come over, that was like unreal. That’s what it was all about. And Mr. Crane hasn’t even talked about it. We know a lot of people that right now, they’re still suffering. They don’t have a roof. They have a tarp. And there are people in the country like in the mountains, they have no water. They just found out, there was a military base in a town in the East Coast that they found, I don’t know how many bottles of water. Just in the runway. And it’s been there for six months. And FEMA kind of like fumbled that one, from what I heard. There’s a story after story after story. And you know, it’s been a struggle, but like I said man, hey, we’re better in the last year, obviously. We’re better than yesterday. We keep getting better. And it’s just a matter of time for us to be that enchanted island, like back in the day.”
Cora’s point about after-effects is very important. While the initial death toll from the storm was around 18, the people of Puerto Rico lacked food, potable water, medical supplies that were not supplied by the government, and therefore, led to the deaths of thousands of people.
Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images