Carmelo Anthony is “hurt” by the U.S. government’s negligence and inaction to Puerto Rico during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
During an episode of CNN’s “The Van Jones Show,” the 34-year-old NBA All-Star shared his thoughts on last September’s storm, which killed more than 4,600 Puerto Rican citizens and left the island without power, water and food. Melo denounced the Trump Administration’s decision to travel to the island two weeks after the Category 5 storm made landfall.
“As somebody who spent a lot of time down there on the island, somebody who got an opportunity to talk to those people, and over the years I’ve been down there for almost ten-plus years, and I’m going back and forth helping out,” Anthony said to Jones. “So to see our government turn their back to that…They’re American citizens, so if you turn your back to your own American citizens, then you can do anything. It was … a low blow, to me and to all of the Puerto Ricans down there, because we can’t control Hurricane Maria.”
During Trump’s visit to the island in October, he minimized the storm’s death toll at the time and suggested it was not “a real catastrophe like Katrina,” which left more 1,800 in the Gulf Coast region.
“Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people and all of our people working together,” Trump told local officials and residents during a briefing. “Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud. Everyone around this table, and everyone watching, can be very proud of what’s taking place in Puerto Rico.”
According to CNN, it took more than nine months for power to be fully restored on the island. Anthony went on to add that in addition to his personal efforts, the government should have sent additional resources “down there.”
“We had the supply stuff at the port; we couldn’t get in. We had to make calls and — it was just a lot. It was just sad that we had to go through (that) … in order to help people,” he said. “You can’t do everything, I get that. You can’t help everything and everybody out, but the things and people that really needed attention to, that’s what we’re supposed to be giving our attention to — as far as our government, as far as the leader of our country.”
“Puerto Rico is part of this country and I just felt like the government completely turned their back, you know, to their island,” Anthony added.