Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer just directly accused President Trump of treating Puerto Ricans differently than other Americans.
In a continuation of Trump’s apathetic attitude towards the millions of Puerto Rican residents struggling without power or water, the president announced today that, “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders… in P.R. forever!”
…We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
In the series of tweets, Trump seemed to imply that Puerto Rico’s suffering was justified due to the territory’s continued struggles with extreme poverty, repeating his assertions that “electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes.”
Schumer replied directly to the tweet, saying forcefully, “FEMA needs to stay until the job is done and right now, it’s not even close to done. Why do you continue to treat Puerto Ricans differently than other Americans when it comes to natural disasters?”
Why do you continue to treat Puerto Ricans differently than other Americans when it comes to natural disasters?
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 12, 2017
Approximately 90% of Puerto Ricans are living without power, and 60% don’t have access to drinking water.
Yesterday, 84% of people in Puerto Rico had no power (per govt stats on status.pr).
Today, it's gone up, to 90% without power. pic.twitter.com/5WnCA8mrhf
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) October 11, 2017
The Trump administration has been relentlessly criticized for its lackluster response to Hurricane Maria by Puerto Rican officials and former U.S. officials who managed previous disasters. Many have been quick to point out that federal assistance was quick to arrive when Texas and Florida were besieged by hurricanes, but federal aid took a week to mobilize for Puerto Rico.
Trump has also allowed the Jones Act to take effect again, forbidding certain foreign ships from delivering aid to Puerto Rico.