The mainstream media’s coverage of President Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico has generally been negative, with accusations that the President has provided inadequate relief. Along with these charges, many pundits criticized President Trump’s visit to the island, particularly a viral moment in which he tossed rolls of paper towels out to a crowd of Puerto Ricans.
But people who were present apparently did not take the action in a negative light. As seen at NewsBusters, hurricane relief volunteer Joel Enrique Salgado offered a personal account of what happened at Calvary Chapel in Puerto Rico, explaining that the media focused in on a brief 30-seconds of President Trump’s service, ignoring his previous handing out of supplies. Additionally, Salgado says the President threw the paper towels in order to reach those who were far back in the crowd.
Salgado says he is not a Trump supporter, but was in Calvary Chapel when the highly-publicized event took place because he wanted to help Puerto Ricans whose lives had been devastated by Hurricane Maria.
Salgado claims the media “failed to accurately report” on the distribution of supplies during President Trump’s visit. For Salgado, the media’s purpose in misrepresenting their coverage was to damage the President’s reputation.
The relief volunteer explains that “most of the President’s visit to Calvary Chapel was taken up with talking and taking pictures with the people near the tables of supplies, and then handing out those supplies”
He says that during most of his visit, the President was busy handing out flashlights, canned chicken, rice, water, and other vital supplies. But because of the disorganization provoked by those who organized the event, President Trump was unable to distribute goods to those in the back of the crowd.
“The reality is that the President’s towel throwing took place because he saw how there were a lot of people behind those in the first few rows, who couldn’t reach him to receive anything. The President wanted to include them, since the activity was to distribute supplies,” Salgado said.
Salgado explains why the President chose to toss paper towels as the item to toss at the large number of needy Puerto Ricans. “He wasn’t going to toss over to them bottles of water or canned food, which could hurt somebody, but rolls of paper towels, which wouldn’t hurt anybody.”
He says the President should have anticipated the media’s coverage of the paper towel-throwing. “Knowing that most of the media seizes every opportunity they get to cast him in the worst possible light, the President should have known that they would select it as the image to be used to define and shape the viewing public’s opinion of his visit in the worst way possible.
“And that’s exactly what happened: the pack instinct that exists in the media took over, as they chose to focus almost entirely on the 30 seconds of paper towel throwing,” he said. “The rest of Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico practically faded into oblivion.” Salgado then reasserts that President Trump spent the majority of his time distributing supplies, with only a few seconds devoted the viral gesture.
The media tried to make President Trump look bad while he was assisting in relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Is the media out to get Trump?
But Salgado, a lawyer, has not been without criticism for voicing his side of the story. “Though I am criticized for speaking up about this, I am duty-bound to always defend the truth, especially when I have personal knowledge and evidence of the facts.”
He closes with a declaration of not being partisan, and of merely being interested in the welfare of Puerto Rico. “I am just a citizen like any other, who went to be part of a humanitarian effort to distribute supplies to some 300 victims of Hurricane María, with the President of the United States.”