President Trump Attacks Puerto Rico, Threatens To Pull Emergency Responders

Lester Mason
October 13, 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said it was the federal government's responsibility right now to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, but added he wanted to see the island become more self-sufficient.

The Wisconsin Republican says Washington also needs to help the US territory rebuild its economy.

The California Democrat insisted her proposal had nothing to do with President Donald Trump even though it comes in the wake of Trump's bellicose threats against North Korea and his reported suggestion that the nation's nuclear arsenal should increase in size - as well as Sen. He quoted journalist Sharyl Attkisson, tweeting "Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making".

Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as the island was already struggling with a severe financial crisis, which forced the government to file for bankruptcy in May.

White House chief of staff John Kelly said at the White House briefing Thursday that Trump's tweet was "exactly accurate" because first responders "are not going to be there forever".

Others, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Puerto Rican mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, also pleaded with Trump to not abandon the island, home to 3.4 million USA citizens.

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 shouldn't expect federal help "forever".

Puerto Rico is still largely without electricity and clean water following widespread devastation from Hurricane Maria, almost a month after it made landfall.

The content and timing of the comments, as the island struggles with the storm's aftermath, prompted swift backlash from some Democratic lawmakers, who said such a move would amount to abandoning USA citizens.

"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 moral imperative to help the people of PR. Shame on you.!" During an event last week honoring the heritage of Hispanics, for example, the president said, "We will be there all the time to help Puerto Rico recover, restore, rebuild". Congressional leaders of both political parties defended the need to send resources to the US territory, which was devastated by two hurricanes this summer.

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

"We have gone all out for Puerto Rico", Trump said at that meeting with Puerto Rico officials, including Cruz. The death toll in Florida after Hurricane Irma, which made landfall on September 10, also reached 75, the Miami Herald reported, not counting the more than 38 people who died in the Caribbean.

A news release from the Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday said that there are "reports of residents obtaining, or trying to obtain, drinking water from wells at hazardous waste "Superfund" sites in Puerto Rico".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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