Trump Implies That FEMA Could Leave Puerto Rico While the Island Remains in a State of Devastation

FEMA could leave Puerto Rico
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Trump’s Tweets Say That FEMA May Leave the Disaster-Struck U.S. Territory Earlier Than Anticipated

A series of tweets from President Donald Trump imply that the federal government may withdraw the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from Puerto Rico earlier than anticipated, despite the U.S. territory still largely in a state of disarray.

“We cannot keep FEMA, the Military and First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” the president tweeted on Thursday.

He also mentioned the debt that Puerto Rico faces, which is reported to number around $70.0 billion. Trump quoted author Sharyl Attkisson, saying that Puerto Rico is suffering from a financial crisis “largely of their own making.”

The tweets do little to ease the conflict between Trump and several officials from Puerto Rico, including San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz who has been engaged in a public feud with the president for weeks now.

Cruz took to Twitter to lambast the president for his comments, saying the president’s “comments about Puerto Rico are unbecoming of a Commander in Chief they seem more to come from a “Hater in Chief”.”

The president has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism regarding his handling of the Puerto Rico disaster. After the U.S. territory was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, many commented that the president seemed more preoccupied with NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. Indeed, the president tweeted several times about the NFL players kneeling in protest during the anthem before he commented on Puerto Rico, despite the hurricane having made landfall days before his tweets.

The president has also stoked tensions by engaging in a war of words with Cruz, sniping back and forth with the mayor over the disaster relief effort.

At the moment, three weeks after Hurricane Maria first made landfall, only 17% of Puerto Rico’s residents have electricity, according to the island’s government.

Food and water shortages are also said to be a problem, while the country’s infrastructure was deeply impacted by the storm.

FEMA chief Brock Long said earlier in the week that the agency was “making progress every day” on the island, and working “with the governor.” He also said the agency “filtered out [Cruz] a long time ago.”

While politicians are trading barbs with each other over Twitter, however, many are left wondering what the state of the disaster relief effort in the territory.

The situation was deemed so poor by Oxfam that the non-profit said it will be lending aid to Puerto Rico, despite the organization usually avoiding helping out in disaster relief in developed nations.

With the disaster in Puerto Rico not yet close to being solved and politicians continuing to fight amongst themselves, the U.S. seems more divided than ever, especially compared to earlier times of disaster that had often pulled the nation together.


Source

Trump threatens to pull FEMA from Puerto Rico,” MarketWatch, October 12, 2017.

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