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13 October 2017, 08:05 | Erica Roy
Trump hints at leaving still-suffering Puerto Rico. Has he seen these numbers?
A FEMA official told CNN the agency has "no hard deadline" on when it plans to pull resources from the island.
Puerto Rico is still largely without electricity and clean water following widespread devastation from Hurricane Maria, almost a month after it made landfall.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a news conference Thursday that he called the White House looking for clarification on Trump's tweets.
Trump tweeted early in the morning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the US military and first responders can't stay in Puerto Rico indefinitely, prompting criticism from San Juan's mayor, among others.
"Not long after, Yulin Cruz responded via Twitter: "@POTUS It is not that you do not get it; you are incapable of fulfilling the moral imperative to help the people of PR. Shame on you.!"
The president struck a very different tone for Texas or Florida, which he promised to stand with "EVERY SINGLE DAY" shortly after those states were wracked by hurricanes before Puerto Rico and now face long-term recovery efforts.
The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, says President Donald Trump's criticism of her hurricane-ravaged country is "unbecoming" of a commander in chief.
Others, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Puerto Rican mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, also pleaded with Trump to not abandon the island, home to 3.4 million USA citizens.
Days later, during an October 3 visit to the island, Trump said USA relief efforts in Puerto Rico, bankrupt before the storm, had "thrown our budget a little out of whack" and was filmed casually tossing rolls of paper towels into a crowd at a disaster relief center.
White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said on CNN's "The Situation Room" that he did not view Trump's tweets as a "threat" to withdraw aid to Puerto Rico and conceded he did not know why Trump decided to make those statements Thursday morning.
"You are wrong", Cuomo said.
Rubio said it is up to the oversight board charged with resolving Puerto Rico's debt crisis to determine how to address the island's debt, noting that private debt owed to investors with legal recourse can not simply be "forgiven" by the federal government. Puerto Rico has about 24 industrial waste sites contaminated by industries including pesticides and battery recycling. But the federal relief effort has also hit problems such as reported hoarding by municipal employees, Tom said, citing it as one reason for the "militarization of the aid operation" in Puerto Rico.
"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. Yet lenders continued to extend credit to Puerto Rico despite its economic struggles, while pension costs strained Puerto Rico's government and its infrastructure deteriorated. "I sense a real commitment from everyone in administration to go the extra mile", he said.
The latest request adds to "billions we expect to receive for other aid we have requested", Rossello said.
Ryan, the House speaker, planned to visit Puerto Rico on Friday.
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