Trump Warns Puerto Rico Weeks After Storms: Federal Help Cannot Stay 'Forever'

Trump Warns Puerto Rico Weeks After Storms: Federal Help Cannot Stay 'Forever'

Trump Warns Puerto Rico Weeks After Storms: Federal Help Cannot Stay 'Forever'

On Thursday morning, POTUS tweeted (gasp!) that Puerto Rico itself is to blame for its current post-hurricane crisis, while suggesting that he "cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been awesome (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

The recovery has moved slowly since Maria struck the United States territory on September 20, leaving most of the island without basic services such as power and running water, according to residents, relief workers and local elected officials.

The latest figures, as of Thursday, tell a clear picture of Puerto Rico's need for continued aid and support.

Ch-ch-check out the strongest reactions (below)!

In a series of tweets, the president said "electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes".

Democrats said Trump's attacks were "shameful", given that the 3 million-plus USA citizens on Puerto Rico are confronting the kind of hardships that would draw howls of outrage if they affected a state.

Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of the capital city, San Juan, also tweeted a response, saying Trump "did not get it" and that he was "incapable of fulfilling the moral imperative" of helping the territory's people.

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Significant relief efforts remain underway in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, totaling over $1.4 billion this year in disaster recovery money, plus another $1.2 billion this year after Hurricane Matthew last year. Forty-five deaths in Puerto Rico have been blamed on Maria, 90 per cent of the island is still without power and the government says it hopes to have electricity restored completely by March.

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled (Puerto Rico v. Franklin) that the territory and its municipalities could not declare bankruptcy unlike states of the union, so a financial austerity plan was imposed under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act of 2016 (PROMESA) which created a board to oversee fiscal restructuring in Puerto Rico. But it is Trump's tone toward Puerto Rico that has drawn the most criticism.

Democrats said Trump's attacks were "shameful", given that the 3 million-plus US citizens on Puerto Rico are confronting the kind of hardships that would draw howls of outrage if they affected a state.

Puerto Rico lost population and jobs after Congress eliminated special tax breaks in 2006, making it more hard to repay its debts.

The legislative aid package totals $36.5 billion and sticks close to a White House request.

FEMA continues relief efforts for even smaller, lower-profile recovery efforts, dropping millions of dollars this year on floods in Iowa from 2008, Tennessee from 2010, North Dakota from 2011 and Colorado from 2013.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., planned to visit Puerto Rico on Friday. It has killed at least 45 people, and about 85 percent of Puerto Rico residents still lack electricity.

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