President Trump Pledged All-out Effort to Help Puerto Rico
Tuesday, Air Force One brought the President, 1st lady Melania Trump and aides to Puerto Rico in late morning to meet 1st responders, local officials and some of the 3.4-M people whose lives have been upended by a hurricane that, in the President’s words, left the US territory “flattened.”
On landing President Trump pledged an all-out effort to help the devastated island.
This visit is “not about me” he said, then the President praised local officials for offering kind words about the recovery effort and invited one to repeat the “nice things” she’d said earlier.
President Trump also singled out Gov. Ricardo Rossello for “giving us the highest praise.”
“Every death is a horror,” he said, “but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous, hundreds of and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here … nobody’s ever seen anything like this.”
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, attended President Trump’s 1st event shaking President Trump’s hand as he went around a table greeting officials.
“He did not play politics at all,” President Trump said of the Governor, making clear that he considers those who have criticized him to be politically driven.
“I appreciate your support and I know you appreciate ours,” he said. “Our country has really gone all out. It’s not only dangerous, it’s expensive. But I consider it a great honor.”
Before leaving Washington, DC, he said Puerto Ricans who have called the federal response insufficient “have to give us more help.”
The trip is President Trump’s 4th to areas battered by storms during an unusually violent hurricane season that has also seen parts of Texas, Florida, Louisiana and the US Virgin Islands inundated by floodwaters and hit by high winds.
President Trump’s visit follows a weekend in which he pushed back against critics, including Mayor Cruz, deriding the “poor leadership ability by her, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”
“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” he added, scoffing at “politically motivated ingrates” who had criticized the federal work, and insisting that “tremendous progress” was being made.
Even before the storm hit on 20 September, Puerto Rico was in dire condition thanks to a decade-long economic recession that had left its infrastructure, including the island’s power lines, in a bad state. Maria was the most powerful hurricane to hit the island since 1932, and unleashed floods and mudslides that knocked out the island’s entire electrical grid and telecommunications, along with many roads.
Next, President Trump and the 1st Lady were to meet Navy and Marine Corps personnel on the flight deck of the USS Kearsarge as well as the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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