Puerto Ricans have one less problem to worry about. Much of the island still doesn't have access to food, power, or clean drinking water. But at least they know the President Trump won't abandon them.
Trump didn't say that though. In fact, the president said the opposite, tweeting at 7:07a.m. that the federal government "cannot keep FEMA, the military, and the first responders…in PR forever!" Was Trump sounding the retreat? No. But was he inspiring confidence in the battered island? Probably not.
Puerto Rico's struggle to return to its feet has been complicated by its own systemic failures and a logistically complicated federal response. Obviously, the political leaders need to rise to the occasion, recognizing all the while that temporary federal assistance is never meant to be permanent.
For for all its self-inflicted problems, Puerto Rico shouldn't have to worry about being left adrift. Luckily, White House chief of staff John Kelly clarified. "We will stand with those American citizens in Puerto Rico," the general explained during Thursday's press conference, "until the job is done." Where Trump was heavy handed, Kelly was reassuring.
But is that really necessary? By most honest accounts, tropical storm season has been the highlight of Trump's presidency. The administration has responded as quickly and efficiently as possible. As aid workers struggle to put Puerto Rico back together again, there's no need to bully the disaster victims. Next time, Trump should follow Gen. Kelly's lead from the beginning.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.