By: Maddy Forbess
This past week, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that devastated the island. As it is an American territory, one might assume that our country would jump to its aid. However, Trump has yet to provide relief efforts to Puerto Rico. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz called out Trump for the lack of aid he has offered. Trump stooped to the level of responding on his Twitter, diminishing the legitimacy of the whole interaction. Trump critiqued her and other power figures in Puerto Rico for wanting “everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.” He consistently abuses social media in situations where a formal press conference would have previously been used. These readily accessible and public platforms make it easier for him to slander his opponents, including his recent targeting of Mayor Cruz.
Simply because Cruz said that the fed could do more to help after the hurricane, Trump attacked her “leadership ability.” His insult gets straight to the heart of sexism in the professional and political sphere. Trump reinforces the double standard in his repeated marginalization of women in positions of power. He more readily targets powerful women, whether it be in the field of journalism or politics.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Trump refuted Mayor Cruz’s leadership capabilities merely because she disagreed with the passive stance he took on providing aid. Cruz appeared on CNN Friday night, donning a black shirt that read “Help Us, We Are Dying,” to urge Trump to increase federal relief efforts. She even resorted to an SOS and direct message to Trump, saying “If anyone can hear; Mr. Trump can hear us, let’s just get it over with and get the ball rolling.” Once again, Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to respond. He remarked that Cruz was “told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.” This unfounded response and conspiracy theory seeks to divert attention from the real problem—the federal government has not done enough for Puerto Rico in light of recent calamity. By trying to control the situation and dismiss anyone with dissenting views, Trump is trying to manipulate the media against Cruz.
Trump repeatedly targets women in positions of power in attempt to lessen their authority, but their voices cannot be silenced. Women like the Carmen Yulin Cruz continue to exercise their right to speak up and out against sexism in the professional forum. When Cruz called Trump out for a shortcoming, his automatic response was to dismiss her viewpoint and discredit her authority. We must look past Trump’s transparent attempt to bash women in leadership and give Cruz her due respect. San Juan Mayor Cruz is a woman worthy of our admiration for sticking to her values and doing what a politician should: speak, advocate, and act on behalf of her constituency.