And like Maria, he disrupted life on the island.
One woman, who refused to give her name, said she and her mother were scheduled to fly out of San Juan’s main airport to the United States on Tuesday before the president arrival closed down the airport.
“I’m really upset. We confirmed today. They didn’t tell us the airport would be closing. We were told it would be opened,” she said.
Gov. Ricardo Rosello said earlier Trump’s visit would not disrupt the airport.
Others were more angry on the day of the president’s visit.
“Trump is for the rich people. He’s a hypocrite,” one said.
“He’s an asshole,” one man standing in line waiting for coffee said. “He’s an asshole.”
One woman said Trump was too late. “It doesn’t matter if he came or didn’t,” she said.
Puerto Rico’s secretary of public affairs said Trump’s visit was necessary, though.
“Come see for yourself the devastation we have today and what we’ll need in the months ahead,” Ramon Rosario said Monday night.
“We desperately need more help, our own resources are not enough, we need more deployments,” said Rosario, emphasizing that the central part of the island was completely destroyed. Broken roads and widespread mounds of debris made these worst-hit areas inaccessible still.
The USNS Comfort, a Mercy-class hospital ship with a capacity to treat 1,000 patients, was also expected to arrive Tuesday.
In the wake of the massacre in Las Vegas on Sunday night that left at least 59 people dead, security here was at its highest.
Ahead of the president’s arrival, Rosello’s office released new figures on Monday detailing the hurricane’s impact. There are still 8,867 people in 139 refugee camps; 294 FEMA containers of water, food, and medical supplies arrived, of which 199 were dispatched to distribution centers. Fifty-one hospitals have been equipped with military radios, and 10 have electricity. In San Juan, electricity has been restored at Center for Government Operations, the Police General Headquarters, including some five-star hotels (the Hyatt House San Juan and the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel).
As for predictions, the governor’s office declared that it hoped to re-establish electricity to 25 percent of the territory’s clients in the course of the month, as well as have 75 percent of gas stations back in service.
Communications remain the central obstacle to getting a basic infrastructure back on track and a semblance of daily life, including key needs such as medical insurance to purchase medicines, or for Medicare that requires a phone call or digital processing. The same applies to welfare and food assistance programs.
The governor’s office said cellular service has been restored at 37 percent. It also said it hoped to have 16 units of AT&T’s COW (Cell on Wings) installed during the month, which would raise cellphone and text availability to 60 percent.
“We have a lot of needs,” Rosario repeated with restrained desperation. Hopefully, he implied, Trump will see these for himself.