Trump, the Zika Virus, and Trump’s Florida Resorts

Trump, the Zika Virus, and his Florida Resorts

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is doing a worthy job for his constituents in pushing the Congress to fund the administrations program to fight the onset of the Zika virus. The administration has a straightforward and urgent request for $1.9 billion in funding for the program. Senator Rubio has only been able to get the Senate to fund $1.1 billion of it. The house is balking at even that amount. Clearly, Florida, with its population visiting the Carribean, its tourists economy, as well as cruise passengers departing to and returning from the Caribbean, can be easily exposed to the Zika virus. As Rubio points out, the first time a tourist catches Zika at Orlando Disney World, the state will definitely start losing tourist business. All of the Gulf coast states are also home to the black and white Aegis Aegypti mosquitos that may catch and spread the Zika virus.

Donald Trump, the certain Republican Candidate for President, with some polls showing that he has a fair chance of winning, could come into office with policies that are being considered now in Congress. As the visible leader of the Republican Party and the voters that could elect him, he should start influencing the budget talks for the budget which he is going to work with for most of his first year in office. Rather than spending his time raising decades old Clinton charges, shaming reporters, and other Republicans, he should start planning for his leadership of the country and getting the budget that he wants. Since the Zika virus is a bombshell waiting to explode, he should show leadership in getting the full appropriation, and helping his shared home state of Florida.

While so far we have argued that Trump should help Florida and the US, he should also help his company which owns resorts in Florida. He has resorts in Jupiter, Miami, and Palm Beach Florida. Whereas I had in the past pointed out their vulnerability to sea level rise in 50 to 100 years, the Zika virus has already started up in the US, mostly from travelers to South America. The Brazilian Olympics this summer will be visited by wealthy US travelers, the same that can vacation in Florida and afford the Trump hotels and resorts. These resorts in Florida will suffer if the Zika virus is allowed to spread without an effective program to eliminate the mosquitos. Research and trials are also needed to develop medical cures for the virus or to kill the virus in mosquitos, or to raise mosquitos that will not reproduce.

Trump has a complicated relationship with Puerto Rico, which is a stepping stone for the virus to enter the US. The citizens of the territory of Puerto Rico are US citizens. Trump had the government fund an International Golf Club and residences for $50 million. That went bankrupt, but the government must still pay off the bonds. While Puerto Rico is seriously in debt, it is in our own best interest to fund an effective Zika protection program there, and to save the US citizens there from the virus, especially when we consider that they also will be traveling to the US.

We hope that Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump will finally start considering the country and its people, instead of just his campaign, his enemies list, and his popularity.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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