President Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to complain that “nobody could have done” the work he did for Puerto Rico “with so little appreciation.”
“Nobody could have done what I’ve done for #PuertoRico with so little appreciation. So much work!” Trump tweeted alongside a video featuring hurricane relief efforts by the US military and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Puerto Rico.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
“What the fake news media will not show you in Puerto Rico….” the first frame of the video reads.
Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday was widely covered by the media, but it was his attacks on San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz that grabbed headlines days before his trip.
The president fired off a series of early-morning tweets last weekend attacking Cruz’s “poor leadership” and accusing Puerto Rican workers of not assisting in the relief efforts.
“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” Trump tweeted. “10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”
During his visit to the island, Trump distributed supplies to hurricane victims, including tossing paper towels into a crowd at a Puerto Rican church.
Trump: im gonna shoot the paper towels at them like kolby bryan
Pence: no just pass them out
— rudy mustang (@rudy_mustang) October 3, 2017
FEMA ADMINISTRATOR IGNORES SAN JUAN MAYOR’S PLEA FOR HELP
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long on Sunday said Cruz’s remarks critical of the Trump administration’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico are just “political noise.”
The mayor on Sunday slammed FEMA, claiming the federal agency has not responded to recent requests for help as Puerto Rico recovers from Hurricane Maria.
— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) October 8, 2017
“Power collapses in San Juan hospital with 2 patients being transferred out. Have requested support from @FEMA_Brock NOTHING! @cnnbrk,” Cruz wrote in one tweet.
Cruz also tweeted at The Washington Post, writing: “Increasingly painful to undestand the american people want to help and US Gov does not want to help. WE NEED WATER! @UN @washingtonpost”
— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) October 8, 2017
Long responded to Cruz’s criticisms during an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week,” saying the agency had “filtered out the mayor a long time ago.”
“We don’t have time for the political noise,” Long said.
“As far as the political noise, we filter that out, keep our heads down and continue to make progress and push forward restoring essential functions for Puerto Rico,” he later added.
“In regards to resources, of course, we’re strained. You know, bottom line is, is that over nearly 85 percent of my entire agency is deployed right now,” he added. “We’re still working massive issues” from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma “as well as the issues in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and now this one.”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 8, 2017
PUERTO RICO GOV BEGS FOR ADDITIONAL AID
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosello issued an urgent letter to congressional leaders on Saturday, warning that the island is on the verge of simultaneous humanitarian and fiscal disasters in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
JUST IN: Puerto Rico governor sends letter to Congress asking for additional financial assistance following "unprecedented catastrophe" pic.twitter.com/KcFavTrHTt
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 9, 2017
Gov. Rossello told Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a letter that most businesses have been unable to reopen in the wake of the storm, putting the already fiscally shaky island under even more pressure.
“In addition to the physical destruction, Puerto Rico’s economy has ground to a near standstill,” Rossello wrote, adding that “very few businesses” are operating.
“Financial damages of this magnitude will subject Puerto Rico’s central government, its instrumentalities, and municipal governments to unsustainable cash shortfalls,” he said. “As a result, in addition to the immediate humanitarian crisis, Puerto Rico is on the brink of a massive liquidity crisis that will intensify in the immediate future.”
“We are grateful for the federal emergency assistance that has been provided so far,” Rosello wrote. “However, absent extraordinary measures to address the halt in economic activity in Puerto Rico, the humanitarian crisis will deepen, and the unmet basic needs of the American citizens of Puerto Rico will become even greater.”
“The unprecedented island-wide devastation in Puerto Rico has led to independent damage assessments in the range of $95 billion — approximately 150 percent of Puerto Rico’s GNP,” he wrote.
Rossello asked Ryan, R-Wis., and McConnell, R-Ky., for an additional $4.6 billion to help the island.
The Trump administration has been widely criticized for a slow and then inadequate response since the U.S. territory was devastated on Sept. 20 by a Category 4 storm that left 95% of the island’s residents without electricity and nearly half without running water.
As of Monday morning, just 15 percent of Puerto Ricans had their electricity restored. Forty-one percent of the U.S. territory lacked access to drinking water.
On Monday, CBS reporter David Begnaud shared photos of desperate island residents resorting to collecting water from a mountain stream.
This was yesterday in Manatí, Puerto Rico – long lines as people fetched water from a pvc pipe that was tapped into a mountain stream pic.twitter.com/wzFqSIZskh
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) October 9, 2017