President Donald Trump slammed Puerto Rico Thursday, claiming its critical infrastructure was a "disaster" before it was hit by two hurricanes and threatened to pull out emergency management personnel from the storm-ravaged island.
On Thursday morning Trump again criticized the USA territory's debt and infrastructure issues. "We can not keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been awesome (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!"
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz - who hasn't been shy about calling out the President for the federal response to the devastation in Puerto Rico, which she thinks has been inadequate - pushed back.
She added, "your comments about Puerto Rico are unbecoming of a Commander in Chief they seem more to come from a "Hater in Chief". Puerto Rico has about 24 industrial waste sites contaminated by industries including pesticides and battery recycling.
To clarify, that's the president of the United States (1) doubling down on his claim that, really, the commonwealth brought this on itself; (2) suggesting that, despite the fact that almost 90 percent of people are still without power and some may be drinking from Superfund sites because they don't have clean water, the federal government is about ready to wash its hands of the situation; and (3) implying that the people of Puerto Rico are pulling a fast one on him, trying to take advantage to extract more aid than they really need.More news: Amazon's new plan aims to get teens hooked
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The backlash to Trump's tweet was immediate on Capitol Hill, with a chorus of Democrats joining Pelosi in condemning the president's message.
The recovery has moved slowly since Maria struck the U.S. territory on September 20, leaving most of the island without basic services such as power and running water, according to residents, relief workers and local elected officials.
President Trump's words seem to be at odds with the message Vice President Mike Pence delivered roughly 12 hours earlier, when he told a crowd gathered for a Hispanic Heritage Month event at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., that "the people of Puerto Rico will recover, and we will be with them every step of the way". In addition to the federal effort, 22 states have responded to calls for aid in Puerto Rico. Hospitals throughout the cash-strapped island of 3.4 million people have been running low on medicine and fuel, and residents and local elected officials have said they expect the death toll to rise.
Pelosi emphasized that the relief effort should not be dictated by deadlines, but by necessity. (He must have seen the promotion last Sunday.) See my interview w/Puerto Rico's governor on the island's fiscal disaster prior to the hurricane.