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Trump complains about Puerto Rico’s relief needs on Twitter

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President Trump has lost patience with Puerto Rico’s colossal storm relief — in less than one month.


Trump on Thursday complained about the island’s humanitarian and financial crises after Hurricane Maria, warning that he “cannot keep” federal relief workers there “forever.”


Trump dumped his gripes while more than 80% of the U.S. territory is still without power, a third of its citizens do not have clean drinking water and the death toll from Maria has still not even been finalized. At least 45 people in Puerto Rico have been killed by Maria, a number that is expected to keep rising as cleanup efforts continue.


In three tweets, Trump once again blamed Puerto Rico for its financial and infrastructure troubles, saying a “total lack of accountability” from its leaders made way for the Maria devastation.

President Trump’s cruel impatience toward Puerto Rico

President Trump tossing paper towel rolls in San Juan during his visit to Puerto Rico last week.

President Trump tossing paper towel rolls in San Juan during his visit to Puerto Rico last week.

(JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS)


“Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes,” he wrote.


“Congress to decide how much to spend…….We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”


His tweets came a week after Trump made his first visit to the storm-ravaged island, during which he blamed it for throwing the federal government’s budget “out of whack” with its relief needs.


His cold-hearted complaints drew immediate disgust and rebukes from other lawmakers.

Puerto Rico death toll from Hurricane Maria climbs to 45


San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has been feuding with Trump over his handling of Maria, wrote in a tweet that Trump’s tweets “about Puerto Rico are unbecoming of a Commander in Chief.


“(T)hey seem to come more from a ‘Hater in Chief,'” she wrote.


“It is not that you do not get it; you are incapable of fulfilling the moral imperative to help the people of PR. Shame on you.!”


Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), a Puerto Rico native, said she was “offended and insulted” by Trump’s tantrum.

Sick Puerto Ricans desperate for aid hope for flight to U.S.


During a Financial Services Committee hearing with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, she told him to relay her disgust to the commander-in-chief.


“Since I don’t have President Trump in front of me, I just would like for you to let him know how shameful all the tweets that he put out this morning,” she told Carson.


Carson, contrary to his boss, said he had “no intention of abandoning Puerto Rico.”


Even FEMA, which has been leading the relief efforts for Maria and other recent hurricanes, roared back against Trump.

N.Y. sends more than 425,000 pounds of supplies to Puerto Rico


“FEMA will be w/Puerto Rico, USVI, every state, territory impacted by a disaster every day, supporting throughout their response & recovery,” public affairs deputy director Eileen Lainez tweeted, referencing the U.S. Virgin Islands and other nearby areas that were also hit by Maria.


Trump has shown no such impatience with the multibillion dollar relief efforts in southern U.S. states that were slammed by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey over the summer.

Debris outside a damaged home in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Debris outside a damaged home in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

(SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS)


In fact, Trump assured the states that the government would help for as long as needed.


“Texas & Louisiana: We are w/ you today, we are w/ you tomorrow, & we will be w/ you EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER, to restore, recover, & REBUILD!” he tweeted in August.

FEMA big says San Juan mayor’s call for help is ‘political noise’


Around the same time, FEMA Administrator Brock Long assured that his agency was “gearing up for the next couple of years” in those states.


The recovery efforts in the South are expected to last years, as is expected after monster hurricanes, and Trump has given no indication that he has a deadline in mind for those efforts.


But he has shown little empathy for Puerto Rico ever since the hurricane first hit the island of 3.4 million people in September.


After keeping quiet about the crisis for days, Trump chastised Puerto Rico on Twitter for its $70 billion debt, saying the territory is “in deep trouble” that “must be dealt with” during the storm relief.

Trump says he created the word ‘fake,’ defends Puerto Rico towels


He also kicked off a Twitter feud with Cruz, who criticized his sluggish response to Maria. He and Cruz have been publicly trading barbs on Twitter and through TV interviews for weeks.


The House is mulling over a $36.5 billion disaster aid package that would include funds for Puerto Rico.


House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday said nothing about rushing relief in Puerto Rico, but he said the U.S. government needs to help the devastated and debt-ridden island “begin to stand on its own two feets” and “rebuild its own economy.”

Tags:
donald trump
puerto rico
us military
chuck schumer
hurricane maria
san juan
carmen yulin cruz
nydia velazquez
hurricanes
paul ryan

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