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13 October 2017, 12:53 | Darnell Patrick
We Cannot Help Puerto Rico 'Forever!'
Donald Trump warned on Thursday (Oct 12) that his willingness to help hurricane-battered Puerto Rico was not unlimited, prompting a furious backlash with the major of San Juan branding the USA president a "Hater in Chief".
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló responded with his own tweet, saying Puerto Ricans were seeking the support "any of our fellow citizens would receive across our Nation".
The recovery has moved slowly since Maria struck the USA 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.
Last week, after visiting the island to view relief efforts, Trump had asked Congress to approve an emergency aid package of US$29 billion for Puerto Rico.
Trump's remarks on Thursday cap those he said while visiting the island on October 3 when he said Puerto Rico's hurricane wasn't a "real catastrophe" like Hurricane Katrina and that response to relief efforts were "throwing our budget a little out of whack". Cruz, who has been feuding publicly with Trump, called the president a "Hater in Chief". Hospitals throughout the cash-strapped island of 3.4 million people have been running low on medicine and fuel, and residents and local elected officials have said they expect the death toll to rise.
The death toll in Puerto Rico attributed to Hurricane Maria has reached 43, an official said on Tuesday, up from 39 previously reported, as islanders continue to fall victim to infections, bad road conditions and other consequences of the storm.
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Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the island last week to offer the US commitment to the island's recovery.
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. "FEMA needs to stay until the job is done".
"It is shameful that President Trump is threatening to abandon these Americans when they most need the federal government's help", said Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat.
Frelinghuysen is scheduled to be part of a delegation led by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that will visit Puerto Rico on Friday to see the hurricane's devastation firsthand. But it is Trump's tone toward Puerto Rico that has drawn the most criticism.
"It's not easy when you're used to living in an American way of life, and then somebody tell 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.
Cruz lambasted Trump previously for turning his back on the Puerto Rican people. "And we will be there every day until that happens".
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