This is current version: Natural disasters are politically agnostic and demand actual leadership. With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on the east coast, and packing a Category 4 punch that could blanket Florida, that’s bad news for Donald Trump.
While the storm track may yet turn from Florida, Dorian certainly won't be the last hurricane in the United States while Donald Trump holds the Oval Office...probably not even this season.
Trump’s one brush to date with an actual natural disaster—other than that goddamn confection of Aquanet, 1970s shag carpet remnants, and lemur fur glued to his skull—was the complete fuckup of his response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria when they struck Puerto Rico in September 2017.
Of course he failed as a president and as a leader. Anyone who expected different results wasn’t paying attention; it was and remains an epic clusterfuck. Because he’s an accidental president, an inherent racist, an ignoramus as to American history, and a natural-born fuckup, Trump and his shambolic clown-show administration botched it from start to finish, and they didn’t even really seem to care.
Why bother? In Trump’s mind, Puerto Ricans aren’t Americans, so why not let the Sea Mexicans get by with hate tweets, paper towel-tossing, and endless bitching about the needs of a U.S. territory that took a direct hit from two storms of historic proportions.
Trump’s inability to let go of his petty little bitch grievances with Puerto Rican local leaders in an American territory where American citizens died and where those same American citizens are still recovering—slowly—from those two hurricanes was revived this week when it looked like Dorian might strike the American island:
The nearly apocalyptic scenarios presented by Dorian aren’t unique, one-off storm tracks. We've seen all this before, and we'll see it again: a direct hit on Miami and a drag into the Gulf of Mexico’s hot waters. A hit that runs from the Cape Canaveral area through Orlando and Tampa across the I-4 corridor followed by a turn into the Gulf and a visit to the Florida Panhandle. We all love a good “only in the Panhandle” gag, but when it comes to Dorian we’re full up here. Florida has even had storms hit the east coast of the state, do 180 and head back out to sea, just to fuck us twice.
Any scenario where a hurricane can do its worst to Florida, it will. And for the remaining time Donald Trump is president, whether it's Dorian or some other storm, we've got a goddamn incompetent at the wheel.
There’s one thing we can rely on, at least this year: Trump will pay more attention to Florida because it’s the home of 29 swing Electoral College votes, but also his own properties. If Dorian makes landfall anywhere near Mar-a-Lago or the Doral resort, expect Trump’s primary attention to be, as it always is, on his vanity properties and his bottom line. His inability to focus on anyone and anything other than himself has already shaped this into a presidency that will be remembered for its narcissism and cultishness.
With at least $271 million drained from FEMA and other government agencies to fund his absurd Campaign Wall, the Trump administration is, as usual, unready for governance beyond the president’s daily Fox & Friends hand job and the daily allotment of mean tweets from a man who conflates presidential timber with the number of likes and retweets.
As a fifth-generation Floridian, I have a certain fatalism about hurricanes. I know there’s not much to do but either hunker down or get the hell out. Sometimes they come at you like a bullet, inexorable and deadly. Other times the mighty monsters turn or dissipate or disappear. You can prepare, and you can plan, but when it comes, it comes. No nuke is going to stop Dorian, but it bears repeating that the President of the United States is out of his goddamn mind for even asking the question of whether we can or should nuke hurricanes.
Florida has enough trouble already, Donald. We’ve got face-eating bath-salt addicts, meth gators, and all the other daily “Florida Man” examples that make us the crazy uncle of the United States. The last damn thing we need is radioactive fallout driven by Cat 4 hurricane winds, you dolt.
This will rankle Donald Trump fans, but Florida had a remarkable example of a leader who saw the state through a series of devastating hurricanes and tropical storms. He was always there, a comforting, sensible voice who marshaled every resource to help people before, during, and after natural disasters. He showed up at the worst of the storms and did more than toss paper towels. He was accountable and held everyone who worked for him in emergency response to the same standard.
His name was Governor Jeb Bush. (RIP my mentions.)
Like millions of my fellow Floridians, I’m hoping and praying the weather gods decide they’ve had their fun and that Dorian drifts north and out into the Atlantic. It’s not simply that I want to spare my beloved, weird, wonderful state the brutal impact of a historic storm that will cost lives and property.
It’s that I dread that in the aftermath, Donald Trump will fuck it up worse.