Trump Tells Struggling Puerto Ricans To ‘Give Us More Help’

Andrew Harnik/AP

President Donald Trump continued his streak of criticizing the people of Puerto Rico on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after a Category 4 hurricane pummeled the island and left much of its infrastructure severely damaged, and its residents in distress.

Before leaving to visit Puerto Rico, Trump took questions from reporters Tuesday morning, one of whom asked about mayor of San Juan.

After Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz criticized the federal government’s hurricane response, Trump said people on the island “want everything to be done for them” and said his critics were “politically motivated ingrates.” The mayor said in kind that her priority was saving lives.

“I think she’s come back a long way,” Trump said of Mayor Cruz. “And I think it’s now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done.”

“In Texas and in Florida, we get an ‘A+’, and I’ll tell you what, I think we’ve done just as good in Puerto Rico and it’s actually a much tougher situation,” he continued.

According to Bloomberg, “almost all” private homes and businesses were without power as of Monday and half the island was still without access to water and sewage treatment.

Trump on Tuesday criticized Puerto Rico’s truck drivers — many of whom, like all Puerto Ricans, were devastated by the destructive storm and are out of reach of traditional communication methods. Relief supplies have trickled slowly throughout Puerto Rico, due in part to the shortage of drivers but also due to the island’s devastated infrastructure. Puerto Rico also faces a shortage of diesel fuel, CNN reported.

Trump incorrectly claimed that the island’s roads have been cleared.

“Now the roads are cleared, communication is starting to come back, we need their truck drivers,” he said. “Their drivers have to start driving trucks. We have to do that, so at a local level they have to give us more help.”

He congratulated “first responders, the military, FEMA” for their “incredible job” and thanked Puerto Rico’s governor. “He has said we have done an incredible job, and that’s the truth,” Trump said.

On Tuesday, according to CBS News’ David Begnaud, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Puerto Rico needs “more help.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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