The Trump administration is sending the hospital ship USNS Comfort to Puerto Rico to provide assistance in the wake of Hurricane Maria, but the president isn’t the one getting the credit.
The Washington Post is praising former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who tweeted about sending the hospital ship Sunday, for the federal government’s decision to provide additional relief.
President Trump, Sec. Mattis, and DOD should send the Navy, including the USNS Comfort, to Puerto Rico now. These are American citizens. https://t.co/J2FVg4II0n
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 24, 2017
The Post article links Clinton’s tweet to a petition that was launched on change.org to send the Comfort to Puerto Rico, even though the petition appears to have been put in motion before her social media post. The petition gained more than 100,000 signatures, but there is no clear indication that Clinton’s actions triggered the deployment of the Comfort. The WaPo article may be a logical “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy.
“I don’t know anything about that,” a Department of Defense official told The Daily Caller News Foundation when asked if the Pentagon took the former Democratic presidential nominee’s tweet or the petition into consideration when it decided to send the Comfort.
The U.S. deployed naval assets to assist in the aftermath of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, and the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsage and the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill were dispatched to provide aid to those in need in Puerto Rico, which was recently devastated by Hurricane Maria.
“This is a long-term effort,” Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, told WaPo. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so [the Department of Defense] will continue to support them as long as support is needed.”
Numerous military assets were sent to Puerto Rico Monday to provide assistance and clear the way for additional support. The Pentagon discussed sending the Comfort, one of two American hospital ships, over the weekend and decided to hold off due to inaccessible ports, but the pressing need for medical assistance in the area reportedly led the Pentagon to send the Comfort.
The Comfort is expected to depart sometime within the next four days, a DOD official told TheDCNF. Hospital ships take some time to supply and ready for operations.
The hospital ship will “provide humanitarian relief,” and the federal government’s top priority is to “minimize suffering and protect lives,” the official emphasized to TheDCNF.