National Democrats have released a pair of new digital advertisements in Central Florida to remind how Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico three years ago and to declare that President Donald Trump “has failed Puerto Rico.”
The Democratic National Committee spots feature footage of the storm, the damage and Trump tossing paper towels into a crowd during his Oct. 3, 2017, visit to the island.
The Facebook ad will run in the Orlando and Kissimmee areas, the center of Florida’s Puerto Rican community.
A 15-second silent video for Facebook features those scenes and headlines from various news reports. They include a Washington Post story quoting Trump complaining that the commonwealth’s storm relief was costing the government too much money and a report as recent as Sunday when NBC News reported little progress had been made toward storm recovery, three years after the storm.
A 3o-second video released on Twitter features commentaries from television hosts and reporters, declaring utter disaster, both in terms of the storm and the federal response. The spot makes passing reference to the estimated 3,000 people whose deaths have been attributed to the storm, saying, “It’s unbelievable that thousands of Puerto Rican deaths went unreported for months and months and still are not part of the official report of deaths.”
The ads are running as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his campaign seek a strategy to energize support among the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans living in Florida.
Both Biden and Trump have been increasing efforts in recent weeks to reach Latino voters in Florida, an increasingly critical-looking bloc.
Last week, Trump announced he was releasing $13 billion for hurricane relief aid in Puerto Rico. That led Democrats and others to decry it as a political move, taken four years after the storm and 46 days before the Nov. 3 election.
“Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria was a disaster. He failed to provide the necessary support for Americans in need, and when pressed on it, lied and misled the public about his record. It’s simple: Trump failed Puerto Ricans,” DNC War Room senior spokesperson and advisor Lily Adams stated in a news release. “Thousands of Puerto Ricans are still suffering because Trump turned his back on them, and we’re going to hold him accountable for it.”