It was, according to the Trump-tracking website Factba.se, the most recent time that Trump mentioned Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory that was devastated by Hurricane Maria last week.
Washington Post reporters on the ground there detail widespread destruction and increasing desperation.
“Many have been openly wondering when help will arrive, whether from local officials or from the federal government,” Samantha Schmidt and Joel Achenbach reported Sunday. “The first thing some villagers ask when they see outsiders: ‘Are you FEMA?’ ”
The day before Trump’s speech in Alabama on behalf of his preferred Senate candidate in the state, the president recognized the plight of the island when talking to reporters.
“Puerto Rico was absolutely obliterated,” he said. “Puerto Rico got hit with winds they say they’ve never seen winds like this anywhere, got hit with a five, category five hurricane which literally never happens. So Puerto Rico is in very very tough shape. Their electrical grid is destroyed. It wasn’t in good shape to start off with. But their electrical grid is totally destroyed. And so many other things.”
Trump tweeted about Puerto Rico twice, once as Maria was over the island and once the day after. He spoke with the governor of Puerto Rico on Friday as well, to express support, as the official readout of the call indicates. Since Friday, though, nothing about Puerto Rico as he enjoyed a weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
Trump’s speech in Alabama, incidentally, soon transitioned into a subject about which Trump clearly had strong feelings: protests at NFL games.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!'” Trump said at the rally. “You know, some owner is gonna do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
He continued, as transcribed by the Guardian’s Bryan Armen Graham:
“But do you know what’s hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway.”
Then the tweets began — before, during and after Sunday’s games.
If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
...our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Courageous Patriots have fought and died for our great American Flag --- we MUST honor and respect it! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Trump also retweeted this:
In the new Post-ABC poll released Sunday, Trump’s response to the hurricanes that flooded Texas and panicked Florida was considered one of the few bright spots in his administration. More than half of Americans approved of the responses to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma; the poll was in the field as Maria hit.
At a news conference on Sept. 14, Trump promised to head to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands “sometime the end of next week or the following week” — that is, at the end of last week or sometime this week. He repeated the pledge Thursday.
Plans for such a trip have not been announced.