According to the Washington Post, one of the reasons the Trump Administration was so slow to respond to the almost total destruction of Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, was because Trump himself did not know that Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are United States Territories with Americans living there. A Puerto Rican was interviewed on television and said the reason help was so slow in coming from America was because, "Trump doesn't know we are Americans." Wonderful.
Most of us can recall Bill Clinton's response to bad polls during his campaign against President George Bush, 41, in 1992, saying, "It's the Economy, Stupid." Clinton went on to win the election. Well now "It's The Jones Act, Stupid."
This is yet another situation where apparently Trump is now going to compound Puerto Rico's tragedy. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, "The Jones Act," requires ships carrying cargo from and to American Ports be only on American vessels. There are obviously closer ports for Puerto Rico from which to receive supplies, food and water. Congress has considered correcting this narrow thinking protectionist law, most recently filed by Senator John McCain of Arizona. Presidents of both parties have suspended the Act over the years for emergencies, just like this.
Yet, incredibly, Trump's Homeland Security Department said Monday that they would not issue the required waiver of the Jones Act because in their opinion "there are sufficient number of U.S. vessels available to get shipments into Puerto Rico." Even Trump Defense Secretary Mattis could request the waiver, but has not. If there are sufficient ships, where the hell is the relief? The law is archaic and the McCain Bill should be passed immediately. No less a conservative voice than The Wall Street Journal called for that today.
It's the Jones Act, Stupid.