Not a ‘real catastrophe’?

Trump makes another gaffe in his response to Puerto Rico’s devastation following Hurricane Maria

The president of the United States went off script in his responses to the devastation in Puerto Rico wrought by Hurricane Maria during a visit to the island this week. Predictably, that resulted in a number of gaffes, including downplaying the extent of the damage and the threats to the well-being of the more than 3 million Americans who live there.

Among other things, during his brief trip to Puerto Rico on Tuesday (Oct. 3), President Trump joked that the disaster had “thrown our budget a little out of whack.” He also compared the number of confirmed deaths (16 at that moment, though emergency responders note that number is unreliable due to communication issues) to “a real catastrophe like [Hurricane] Katrina,” where thousands had perished.

Obviously, the president’s missteps did not stem the criticism that he’d been slow to react to the disaster.

A silver lining can be found among the responses from the nonprofit and private sectors, including one effort right here in our backyard. As Meredith J. Cooper reports in this week’s The Goods, founder and President Christian Friedland, along with his wife, Melissa, have begun a relief effort called Power for Puerto Rico to aid their adopted home on that island. The couple donated $100,000 of their own money, and are asking for donations to buoy the effort, which specifically will send generators to those without electricity, as it’s expected to take six months to a year to restore the entire island’s power grid. Learn more at