Donald Trump is reveling in his power to save Puerto Rico or condemn it. – Donald Trump Sucks

Donald Trump is reveling in his power to save Puerto Rico or condemn it. – Donald Trump Sucks

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk to Air Force One before departing from Luis Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 3.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Three weeks in to the humanitarian crisis in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, President Trump has gotten bored with providing relief and moved on to obsessing about the public appraisal of the relief he has (and mostly hasn’t) provided. His stamina for self-celebration is unsurpassed; he touts, with a relentless sense of duty, the swiftness and efficacy of the measures his White House has taken to lift the island out of ruin. “Nobody’s ever seen anything like it,” Trump said, of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria. Yet, as he tweeted later, “despite the Fake News Media in conjunction with the Dems, an amazing job is being done in Puerto Rico.”

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer.

In addition to glorying in his own leadership and blaming the snarls of rebuilding on CNN and the left, a darker theme has emerged in Trump’s handling of the catastrophe, with its climbing death toll (now at 45), broken power grids, and shortages of food and water. The president has in recent days affected a kind of sinister swaying to and fro on the question of whether the American government will continue to offer assistance to 3.4 million of its own citizens. On Thursday morning, he tweeted that “we cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

And why would we want to help…

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