Full Frontal tonight airs a one-hour special from Puerto Rico in which Samantha Bee and her correspondents visit the island that was very sexy top-of-show news when Hurricane Maria hit months ago, leaving 1,000 dead, about 10K homeless, and 3.4M without power.
The Great American Puerto Rico was taped about a month ago; 103K still were without power, Bee reported, calling it “shameful” given that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
“If this happened in Connecticut, it would be front page news every day,” she said, adding, “How did we f*ck this up so badly?!”
Bee says in the special she grabbed her correspondents and rushed to Puerto Rico “to find out what the hell was going on,” telling her crew “Let’s make America give a damn about Puerto Rico.”
Bee’s program points the finger at the “shady” companies contracted to restore power to the island. And at FEMA which, locals told her, didn’t just not show up, but rejected hundreds of thousands of homeowner applications for assistance because they did not have deeds for their homes.
David Duchovny is brought in to serve as FEMA Conspiracy Explainer, making great use of his conspiracy-theory yarn. After the hurricanes, Duchovny said, ‘FEMA did its usual mediocre job in Florida and Texas” but in Puerto Rico “did way worse.” They told locals to apply for assistance by phone or online when they had no internet or electricity, for instance. And, even though Puerto Rico is famously broke, FEMA told them they had too much money to receive disaster loans, “because they didn’t do their f*cking homework,” Duchovny scowled.
The show went to the town of Loiza where Tania Rosario Mendez, executive director of Taller Salud, was doing incredible work with the NGO female-led organization. “We were waiting for FEMA to show up, but they didn’t, so we just started buying tarps and putting them up” to replace roofs that had been blown off, Mendez explained. They found out what else the people needed by going to the women and asking them.
“We just listened,” she said, becoming straight-woman for Full Frontal’s question: “You listened to women and no one tried to accuse you of ruining a mediocre comedian’s career?”
During the special Bee announces she had moved her TBS late-night show’s T-shirt production to Puerto Rico, and challenged others to do same, most especially former The Daily Show colleague/current CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert.
Bee actually visited Late Show Tuesday night to tout her special, but kind of stepped on her own promotion when she mentioned to Colbert that, as an adolescent, she used to steal cars:
Bee had first announced herPuerto Rico special back in January, during another Full Frontal special in which she sent her staff to race around, apologizing on behalf of the United States for all the things Trump had done at that point.
That included a stop in Puerto Rico, where Trump paid a visit last October, 13 days after Hurricane Maria hit, to tell residents how much he loves the place he seemed to have only just learned was an island. He informed them their weather is “second to none, but every once in a while you get hit. And you got hit.”
POTUS also addressed the devastation the hurricane caused – to him. “I hate to tell you Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” he said. Trump met with victims, seen on-camera telling one local, “We’re going to help you out…have a good time.”
Trump also handed out supplies, in the Trumpiest way possible, lobbing paper towels and other goods at locals in a church. When he passed out flashlights, the president informed the residents, “Flashlights. You don’t need them anymore!”
About four months later, nearly half a million people on the island still lacked power.