Bob Franken

Bob Franken

Edward M. Pio Roda

I've never heard President Donald Trump sing, and that's certainly a good thing. Day after day, he shows just how amazingly tone-deaf he is.

He frequently brags about how he is personally compelled to "punch back" whenever anyone takes him on. No matter how gentle the criticism, it spurs an all-out verbal assault from him. It also doesn't matter how desperate the critic is, if those crying out, for instance, are in mortal danger; if they cross Donald Trump, they can expect a nuclear Twitter barrage.

So it is with the 3 million or so U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico who are struggling to survive Hurricane Maria. They are coping with the elimination of their entire infrastructure that sustains their lives, provides basics like food, water, electricity, communication and medical care. All that has been pretty much wiped out, and the government response to its massive collapse has been insufficient.

Trump insists that it's actually beyond sufficient, that his administration is doing an "amazing job." His acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said the federal response has been "good news."

Her words set off the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, who is fighting a losing battle with this calamity and its overwhelming aftermath: "Damn it, this is not a good news story," she emotionally retorted, "This is a 'people are dying' story. This is a life or death story. ... This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water."

That was enough to push the buttons of the Trumpster Tweeter, who launched an all-out barrage aimed at "such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico." After all, he continued, "They want everything to be done for them."

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As for the mayor, his tirade continued that she's just a tool of the Democrats who are "ingrates" and ignore the difficulties of a rescue effort on "an ISLAND, surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water."

In fairness, there are differences: The logistics do make an emergency response more difficult. Another is that the island's facilities, particularly the electric utility, were in pathetic shape because of years of corruption, ineptitude and mismanagement. But this is a catastrophe for our fellow Americans, even though the dominant language in Puerto Rico is Spanish, which his harshest critics say might have contributed to Trump's lethargic response.

But there was nothing lethargic about his reaction to the complaints. When he was through unleashing his malicious maelstrom at people in Puerto Rico, he returned to the storm from last week, where he took more cybershots at NFL players and those from other sports who have protested his profane attacks on their protests as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played. "Very important that NFL players STAND."

"Tone-deaf" doesn't really cover his inability to comprehend anyone's agony but his own, which happens the moment anyone dares to express dissent in any way that ruffles his fragile fantasy of self-worth. It's another opportunity to express his victimhood.

Bob Franken is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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