Puerto Ricans to Trump: Don't Focus on Debt, We Need Water

09 October, 2017, 00:44 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • A protester holds a sign criticizing President Trump's handling of the Puerto Rican crisis post Hurricane Maria

"Sixteen people certified. Sixteen people versus in the thousands", Trump said.

Along with saying Puerto Rico had "thrown our budget a little out of whack", Mr Trump also claimed officials should be "proud" only 16 people had died as the result of Hurricane Maria, unlike in catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina. He also suggested that the US$74 billion (S$100 billion) government debt accumulated by bankrupt Puerto Rico would need to be wiped clean to help the island recover from the devastation.

Realizing what he's said (and that numerous people have died), he begins to backtrack so fast.

Trump's trip to the USA territory of Puerto Rico, normally a fairly routine show of presidential empathy, took on an outsized political meaning.

"We have delivered food and water, and it hasn't gotten to some people", he said.

Cruz argued that federal aid had been slow to reach Puerto Rico following Maria, which knocked out power to the entire island.

Almost two weeks after Maria thrashed through the United States territory, much of the island remains short of food and without access to power or drinking water.

"I said to the president is that this is about saving lives". "Because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that's fine".

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Cruz has been vocal in her criticism of Trump, praising White House officials, but criticizing the president for the administration's overall response.

And, she added, Mr Trump was sometimes more "miscommunicator in chief" than commander in chief.

After revealing the gross shortage of supplies Puerto Rico has received, she said she was done playing nice: "So I am done being polite, I am done being politically correct".

"Sir, it's on tape, you're being criticized because people are seeing. they're not making it up, you're not a cartoon there".

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, took on the feminist rallying cry of the resistance in a sly rebuke of the president on Wednesday: by proudly wearing a "NASTY" shirt in a television interview.

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday mocked President Trump for throwing rolls of paper towels at a crowd of Puerto Ricans while visiting the devastated island in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The storm added greatly to the woes of Puerto Rico's 3.5 million residents, who endured a decade-long recession made worse by austerity policies to deal with the island's $72 billion debt. "Everybody around this table, and everybody watching, can really be very proud of what's taken place in Puerto Rico".

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