One of the prominent voices taking advantage of Hurricane Irma for political purposes is filmmaker Michael Moore, famous for such financially successful political documentaries as Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine.
As Irma approached Florida, Moore, on Twitter, urged President Trump to open his Mar-a-Lago resort to the public as a shelter. But as NBC News reported, Mar-a-Lago was under evacuation order for being in the hurricane’s path and situated on low-lying land.
On Friday, as Floridians were busy making last-minute preparations for the impending storm, Moore wrote “Has he [Trump] opened up Mar-a-Lago as a shelter yet?” The question seemingly was meant to reprove the president for not opening his resort’s doors for public refuge.
However, as Twitter users quickly pointed out in response to Moore’s tweet, Mar-a-Lago would have been far-from-suitable as a hurricane shelter. The local government ordered Mar-a-Lago to be evacuated on Friday–the same day Moore called for it to be opened.
The famous resort is located on a low-lying strip of land that runs against the Atlantic Ocean, and is further separated from the mainland by a second narrow body of water.
This means that rising water levels caused by a hurricane can virtually turn Mar-a-Lago into an island, trapping anyone inside and cutting off access from rescue personnel. Harboring displaced persons at Mar-a-Lago was not an option.
The “Winter White House” was not the only Trump property to be hit by Irma. South Florida is home to three Trump golf courses and the Trump National Doral Hotel. Another Trump property, a resort on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, was hit on Wednesday. The cost of damages to these privately-owned properties is presently unknown.
As The Hill reported, Trump announced on Sunday that he will “soon” visit Florida to oversee relief responses to Irma. According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump took further action on Sunday to help the affected people of South Florida, signing a disaster declaration approving federal funds for several Florida counties.
President Trump’s stance on recent natural disasters has been to provide quick aid. As Fox News noted, Trump went against the wishes of congressional GOP leadership on Friday when he signed a $15 billion Hurricane Harvey relief bill that will keep the government running for the next three months while temporarily suspending the debt ceiling.
As covered by NY Mag, Trump visited Texas twice after Harvey struck. Chicago Tribune reported that Trump personally served food to Texans in a Houston hurricane shelter. As seen at US News, Vice President Mike Pence also visited Texas, where he participated in the clean-up of scattered debris.
The president’s response to Hurricane Harvey has been lauded by most observers–including many of his detractors. His take on Irma has been similar, although Florida has not suffered the same level of devastation as Texas.
According to ABC News, Irma has left six dead in Florida and 37 dead in the Caribbean. Millions of people are without power. Many Florida counties are off hurricane alert. As the Washington Post noted, the storm is now headed north toward Georgia.