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Trump complains about Puerto Rico’s hurricane devastation, says he can’t keep federal workers there ’forever’

By JASON SILVERSTEIN
New York Daily News

October 12. 2017 1:09PM
President Donald Trump complained on Twitter Thursday morning about Puerto Rico’s humanitarian and financial crises after Hurricane Maria. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
President Donald Trump complained on Twitter Thursday morning about Puerto Rico's humanitarian and financial crises after Hurricane Maria, warning that he “cannot keep” federal relief workers there “forever.”

Trump dumped his gripes while more than 80 percent of the U.S. territory is still without power, a third of its citizens do not have clean drinking water and the death toll from Maria has still not been finalized.

In three tweets, Trump once again blamed Puerto Rico for its financial and infrastructure troubles, saying a “total lack of accountability” from its leaders made way for the Maria devastation.

“Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes,” he wrote.

“Congress to decide how much to spend ... ... .We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

At least 45 people in Puerto Rico have been killed by Maria, a number that is expected to keep rising as cleanup efforts continue.

The President's tweets came a week after Trump made his first visit to the storm-ravaged island, during which he blamed it for throwing the federal government's budget “out of whack” with its relief needs.

His complaints drew immediate disgust and rebukes from other lawmakers.

“There is still devastation, Americans are still dying. FEMA needs to stay until the job is done,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tweeted to Trump.

In another tweet, Schumer wrote, “Why do you continue to treat Puerto Ricans differently than other Americans when it comes to natural disasters?”

Trump has shown no such impatience with the multibillion dollar relief efforts in southern states that were slammed by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey over the summer.

His reactions to Maria, though, have been harsher ever since the hurricane first hit the island of 3.4 million people in September.

After keeping quiet about the crisis for days, Trump chastised Puerto Rico on Twitter for its $70 billion debt, saying the territory is “in deep trouble” that “must be dealt with” during the storm relief.

He also kicked off a Twitter feud with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who criticized his sluggish response to Maria. He and Cruz have been publicly trading barbs on Twitter and through TV interviews for weeks.

(c)2017 New York Daily News


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