From Jonathan Bernstein:
Almost three weeks since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the island is in terrible shape. Most people do not have electricity. Almost half do not have access to safe water. Dozens of Americans have perished. By any measure, this is an extraordinary tragedy for the nation. And yet, Trump instead has constantly signaled business-as-usual.
Is it clear that the federal government is making a serious commitment to the relief effort? Absolutely. Do we know all of what Trump is doing behind the scenes? No, although early reports were not promising. But what the president says in public is important as well.
The executive branch bureaucracy is large and unwieldy, and will not automatically shift to do anything a president might want it to do — there are thousands of routine tasks to be completed, and all sorts of competing priorities to attend to. If presidents want the government to turn to a single purpose, they need to send clear, consistent signals that what they want to happen is now the highest immediate priority. That is simply not happening: