Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

President Trump Attacks Puerto Rico, Threatens To Pull Emergency Responders

President Trump Attacks Puerto Rico, Threatens To Pull Emergency Responders Trump: We Cannot Help Puerto Rico 'Forever!'
Marlene Weaver | 13 October, 2017, 07:31

A new package of US disaster assistance sailed through the House of Representatives on Thursday, despite President Donald Trump expressing impatience with having to devote federal resources for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico's recovery.

"It's not easy when you're used to living in an American way of life, and then somebody tells you that you're going to be without power for six or eight months", said Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, who represents Puerto Rico as a nonvoting member of Congress.

Trump said using Puerto Rico's initials.

"Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes", Trump wrote in a series of tweets early Thursday.

In this Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 file photo, destroyed communities are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico.

In a morning tweet, Trump warned that the United States "cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been wonderful (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

Trump has pushed back hard at criticism of his administration's initial response to the disaster, accusing the media of exaggerating the devastation and minimizing relief efforts led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with support from the Defense Department. Congressional leaders of both political parties defended the need to send resources to the USA territory, which was devastated by two hurricanes this summer. Congress is expected to consider additional aid in the coming weeks but the debate could grow more contentious.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers, however, said more money would likely be needed later.

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Actors Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa and Ben Affleck during the Justice League autograph signing at Comic-Con International 2017. Jason Mamoa will play Aquaman in Justice League , before getting his own solo-film series, set to begin in 2018.

"We've got to do more to help Puerto Rico rebuild its own economy so that it can be self-sufficient", Mr. Ryan said.

"There is some concern about can we couple some of this (disaster aid) with reform measures", Cole told Reuters on Wednesday.

Cole said the price tag could rise as relief efforts transition from emergency response to rebuilding.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday he said will bring "great, great health care" to millions of people, said Puerto Rico can't be helped "forever", and urged the Senate to confirm Kirstjen Nielsen as his secretary of homeland security.

On top of that, the death toll is expected to be higher than originally believed.

"The president is committed to helping to make sure that we do what is necessary to help to rebuild the island, but there are some elements that pre-existed the hurricane", Marc Short said on CNN.

The House bill would provide $18.7 billion for FEMA's disaster-relief fund, $16 billion to replenish the nation's flood-insurance program and $576.5 million for wildfire efforts. The fund received a $15 billion injection from Congress in September after Hurricane Harvey and an additional $7 billion on October 1, the start of the federal government's fiscal year.

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