President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that Puerto Rico is going to have to shoulder more responsibility for recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria, saying the federal government's emergency responders can't stay there "forever".
Democrats said Trump's attacks were "shameful", given that the 3 million-plus USA citizens on Puerto Rico are confronting the kind of hardships that would draw howls of outrage if they affected a state. Congress to decide how much to spend.We can not keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been incredible (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. Puerto Rico has about 24 industrial waste sites contaminated by industries including pesticides and battery recycling. The death toll from the storm has risen to 45, authorities have said, and at least 113 people remain unaccounted for, according to Karixia Ortiz, a spokeswoman for Puerto Rico's Department of Public Safety.
The mayor tweeted that Trump is "incapable of fulfilling the moral imperative to help the people of PR. Shame on you!"
The backlash to Trump's tweet was immediate on Capitol Hill, with a chorus of Democrats joining Pelosi in condemning the president's message.
Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello said on Monday drinking water supplies have been restored to almost 60% of the island but some areas in the north remained at around 20% after Hurricane Maria hit the US territory.
Hospitals throughout the island have been running low on medicine and fuel, officials said.
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, who is a member of the House foreign affairs committee, told CNN's Chris Cuomo Thursday there's only "so much" the U.S. can do to help Puerto Rico. The recovery effort comes after the government-owned electricity utility PREPA filed for bankruptcy in July - and after Puerto Rico itself filed for bankruptcy, facing more than $120 billion in debt, as NPR's Samnatha Raphelson has reported. He added, "We've saved a lot of lives". But the federal relief effort has also hit problems such as reported hoarding by municipal employees, Tom said, citing it as one reason for the "militarization of the aid operation" in Puerto Rico. It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the president's reference to her on Twitter. (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.