His feedback — during which he additionally blamed the beleaguered island for a monetary disaster “largely of their very own making” and infrastructure that was a “catastrophe” earlier than the hurricane — come as Puerto Rico nonetheless reels from an absence of electrical energy, public well being entry and a rising loss of life toll. The remarks shortly prompted cries from Democratic lawmakers, who argue that Puerto Rico nonetheless wants loads of assist, in addition to the mayor of San Juan, who stated they had been “unbecoming” and appeared to return from a “hater in chief.”
In the meantime, Texas and Florida — two states Trump gained throughout final yr’s presidential election — additionally had been struck by extreme hurricanes lately, however the President has made no public indication that the federal authorities is pulling again on its response there.
The President wrote in two separate tweets, “‘Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a monetary disaster looms largely of their very own making.’ says Sharyl Attkisson. A complete lack of……..accountability say the Governor. Electrical and all infrastructure was catastrophe earlier than hurricanes. Congress to determine how a lot to spend…”
He continued in a 3rd tweet: “We can not preserve FEMA, the Army & the First Responders, who’ve been wonderful (underneath probably the most troublesome circumstances) in P.R. eternally!”
Attkisson is a journalist who works for conservative Sinclair Broadcasting.
Trump’s tweets come three weeks after the hurricane first struck the island, which stays largely with out energy. The loss of life toll from the storm has risen to 45, authorities have stated, and at the very least 113 individuals stay unaccounted for, in keeping with Karixia Ortiz, a spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Division of Public Security.
The restoration has moved slowly since Maria struck the US territory on September 20, leaving a lot of the island with out primary providers corresponding to energy and working water, in keeping with residents, aid staff and native elected officers. Hospitals all through the cash-strapped island of three.four million individuals have been working low on drugs and gasoline, and residents and native elected officers have stated they count on the loss of life toll to rise.
The water scenario is so dire, the Environmental Safety Company stated in a information launch Wednesday, that residents on the island have reportedly been making an attempt to acquire water from Superfund websites — that are our bodies of water contaminated by hazardous waste. The EPA suggested towards “tampering with sealed and locked wells or ingesting from these wells, as it could be harmful to individuals’s well being.”
Administration officers sought to downplay Trump’s feedback Thursday morning.
Housing and City Improvement Secretary Ben Carson, testifying earlier than the Home monetary providers committee, stated that he has “no intention” of abandoning restoration efforts in Puerto Rico.
“They’re a vital a part of who we’re,” he stated, later including: “(Puerto Rico) shouldn’t be deserted.”
And White Home press secretary Sarah Sanders reaffirmed federal help to the island.
“Our job in any catastrophe affected location is to assist the neighborhood reply and recuperate from that catastrophe. We proceed to take action with the complete power of the US authorities and its assets in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and different affected areas,” she stated. “Profitable recoveries don’t final eternally; they need to be as swift as potential to assist individuals resume their regular lives.”
Democrats, nevertheless, pounced on Trump’s tweets.
“Puerto Ricans are Individuals, and we do not abandon one another. The federal authorities ought to keep in Puerto Rico so long as needed,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, tweeted.
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted, “Puerto Rico continues to be dealing with a humanitarian disaster. @realDonaldTrump appears extra nervous about blaming hurricane victims than serving to them.”
And San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has feuded publicly with the President over the federal response, said on Twitter that Trump was incapable of fulfilling the ethical crucial to assist the individuals of PR. Disgrace on you.!”
Nonetheless Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, who’s a member of the Home overseas affairs committee, instructed CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday there’s solely “a lot” the US can do to assist Puerto Rico.
“I’d then once more say, ‘What’s sufficient?’ What’s the correct amount to fulfill whoever says we’re not doing sufficient,” he stated on “New Day.” “It is regrettable and it is unhappy for these individuals however there solely is bodily, humanly potential a lot that any nation might do within the wake of devastation.”
He continued: “I lived by means of it myself, a sufferer of floods on quite a few events, needed to clear it up, and I’ll inform you, no person got here to assist us, we dealt with it ourselves.”
Home to vote on catastrophe aid
Appearing Division of Homeland Safety Elaine Duke will make her second journey to the island on Thursday.
Home Speaker Paul Ryan will lead a bipartisan delegation visiting Puerto Rico on Friday, in keeping with the speaker’s workplace.
Ryan will journey to the island with Home Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey and Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, the highest Democrat on the panel. Puerto Rico’s sole consultant in Congress, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, and Home GOP Convention Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers additionally shall be a part of the congressional delegation.
The Home will vote Thursday on a catastrophe aid invoice following a collection of devastating hurricanes and big wildfires which have ravaged elements of the US.
Whereas the Trump administration requested $29 billion in supplemental spending final week, it requested for extra assets Tuesday evening, together with $four.9 billion to particularly to fund a mortgage program that Puerto Rico can use to handle primary capabilities like infrastructure wants.
The invoice stood at $36.5 billion as of Wednesday afternoon.