John Oliver: Trump's response to Puerto Rico relief was 'horribly racist'

The Last Week Tonight host criticized the president’s claim that ‘the primary obstacle to hurricane relief has been Puerto Rican laziness’

John Oliver took aim at Donald Trump’s angry response to problems over hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, calling him “horribly racist”.

During his HBO show Last Week Tonight, the comic played footage of Trump happy with what he saw as a successful first response. “How are you even trying to take a victory lap right now?” Oliver asked.

The interview led to problems for the president, as many didn’t share his positivity. “Getting aid to a disaster zone is a huge challenge but Trump’s rosy assessment of success has been disputed by many on the ground, like San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who went on TV to plead for more aid and got a depressingly predictable response from the president,” he said.

A flurry of tweets followed Cruz’s remarks. Trump claimed that there needed to be a greater effort from the Puerto Rican community and that the victims couldn’t expect everything to be done for them.

“The primary obstacle to hurricane relief has been Puerto Rican laziness?” Oliver said. “You have got to hand it to Trump: anybody can say horribly racist things about Hispanic people on a golden escalator, but it takes real balls to do it while their fellow citizens are dying. Trump is basically saying: ‘When hurricanes are hitting our people, they’re not hitting our best, they’re killing poors, they’re killing lazies and some, I assume, have said nice things about me.’”

The host said that this particular episode “came at the end of a week of embarrassments”.

The Republican party had experienced yet another setback in its quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as the party’s latest bill failed to pass. During a live on-air interview, the president claimed that it was down to a senator who was in the hospital and was therefore unable to vote. This turned out not to be the case.

Thad Cochran had been experiencing health issues, but he hadn’t been hospitalized. His office was forced to release a statement saying it was a urological issue.

“The president’s lies became so frustrating that the only way to shut them down was to publicly discuss the fact that something may be wrong with Thad Cochran’s dick,” Oliver said.

He continued: “The president just repeatedly said something that was not true, that was wrong. We just caught him in a lie.”

Guardian staff

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