March 20, 2018

As House weighs hurricane aid, Trump lashes out at Puerto Rico- again

12 October 2017, 07:39 | Silvia Roy

Carlos Giusti AP

Carlos Giusti  AP

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pushed back shortly after Trump tweeted, asking the President why he "continue (s) to treat Puerto Ricans differently than other Americans" and saying FEMA needs to stay in the USA territory "until the job is done".

Trump's comments are his latest remarks on Puerto Rico to offer a mix of criticism and support - and to draw what seems to be a direct response from local politicians in the USA territory.

Trump tweeted: "We can not keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been incredible (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

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Trump said earlier Thursday on Twitter that Puerto Rico has a "total lack of accountability" and "electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes".

He says Puerto Rico already faced hard fiscal and economic problems before being devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Trump, however, has defended his handling of the situation, suggesting late last month that the USA territory's leadership and others on the island were relying too heavily on federal assistance and should do more to help themselves. More than a third of Puerto Ricans are still struggling to live without drinking water. Last month, Trump accused San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of "poor leadership" and said she and others in Puerto Rico "want everything to be done for them". Katrina required about $110 billion in emergency appropriations. An additional $577 million would pay for western firefighting efforts.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., planned to visit Puerto Rico on Friday.

FEMA says there are now some 19,000 federal civilian personnel and military service members - including more than 1,400 FEMA personnel - working in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. "It's not easy when you are continue to suffer - see the suffering of the people without food, without water, and actually living in a humanitarian crisis". Now, it is moving quickly to take care of this year's crises, quickly passing a $15.3 billion measure last month and signaling that another installment is coming next month.

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