In case you hadn’t heard, U.S. President Donald Trump has seriously bungled Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria relief efforts. The September 20 hurricane simultaneously took out the U.S. territory’s power grid, cellphone towers and banking system, thrusting the country into a humanitarian crisis that Trump is only now visiting two weeks later.
Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan (Puerto Rico’s capital) has lambasted Trump’s lethal mismanagement of the relief effort. And one notable gay Puerto Rican is also criticizing the administration for their bureaucracy: Rey Ortiz, the fashion designer who created the infamous “Fuck Trump” dress during the election.
Before we get to Ortiz’s comments, here’s a quick synopsis of the clusterfuck that has Hurricane Maria left in Puerto Rico, courtesy of CNN:
Many trucks don’t have enough diesel fuel to deliver food, water and other essentials. There’s little cell service for those with the aid to communicate with towns, drivers and locals. Banks can’t get enough armored trucks to deliver cash too.
On top of that, fallen branches and flood waters have washed out some of the island’s major routes and hospitals and food banks have no electricity, meaning that meat and veggies are rotting while people on life support lose valuable time.
The Mayor of San Juan criticized Trump and the U.S. response in a new conference last Friday, stating, “People are dying in this country. I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy.”
Soon after that, Trump used Twitter (of course) to blast the mayor, writing, “Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”
Regarding his activism since the hurricane, Ortiz recently told Yahoo News:
I will not be silenced. Now the Puerto Rico situation has made me even more worked up, since I’m from there. My dress is here to stay. I will use my art as much as possible, since my resources are not many. I can share my two cents.
Rey Ortiz also posted the following protest video on his Instagram page:
Ortiz designs custom clothes for celebrities like former NSYNC member Lance Bass, Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio and other clients. We asked Ortiz more about Puerto Rico and his infamous dress.
Have you heard anything from your LGBTQ friends in Puerto Rico?
They are doing just fine. I’ve seen them even giving out food to the needy. Great posts from a lot of them. Great community work. The Puerto Rican gay community is super tight when needed. They are happy people. I know they are ready to hit the clubs and reconnect soon.
What message that you’d like to send out to Americans who are watching what’s happening but aren’t sure what to do?
I am thankful that Trump is showing his true colors and people are opening their eyes — a much needed silver lining. Any Puerto Rican outside the island will not let this go when the next election comes. The response he gave will be a major factor on the future Latino vote.
My suggestion is to just be informed and reach out to someone in need. No help is too little nor too big.
Whatever became of your infamous “Fuck Trump” dress?
The dress was sold to the wife of a Trump supporter… oh, the ironies of life. She paid for it with her husband’s credit card. I think she even created an Instagram account for it.
Rey Ortiz also said, “As long as Trump and his followers keep opening their nasty and big mouths, the dress will keep getting more and more popular. I often think if I should start designing the impeachment one.”