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President Trump lashes out at hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

Joe Raedle  Getty Images Joe Raedle Getty Images
Frascuelo Febo | Octubre 13, 2017, 04:24

President Donald Trump continued his relentless criticism of Puerto Rico Thursday morning, suggesting the U.S. couldn't aid in recovery and relief efforts in the U.S. territory "forever!"

Keep in mind, more than 80% of the island still doesn't have electricity and many don't have cell service or access to clean water.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, which also has a sizeable Puerto Rican community, told Reuters that he had urged Trump to create a high-level task force to provide advice for rebuilding the island, and that the president was receptive to the idea.

"The bigger concern is in the long term", he told Reuters in a 30-minute telephone interview as the House of Representatives moved ahead with a $4.9 billion loan for Puerto Rico as well as billions more in disaster relief.

"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. "It's not easy when you are continue to suffer - see the suffering of the people without food, without water, and actually living in a humanitarian crisis".

"@POTUS your comments about Puerto Rico are unbecoming of a Commander in Chief they seem more to come from a 'Hater in Chief'", she tweeted. "EPA advises against tampering with sealed and locked wells or drinking from these wells, as it may be dangerous to people's health".

Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of the island's capital San Juan who has publicly feuded with Trump in recent weeks, pushed back hard at the president's apparent threat to withdraw federal aid, charging that he was incapable of "fulfilling the moral imperative to help" Puerto Ricans.

He then went on to propose that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the military and first responders - who he said "have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances)" - cannot stay in the U.S. territory "forever!" He has promised that the island will get what it needs.

Velazquez called Thursday's bill a "down payment in helping the response" in Puerto Rico and other areas affected by hurricanes and wildfires.

"We have gone all out for Puerto Rico", Trump said at that meeting with Puerto Rico officials, including Cruz.

The EPA says it is assessing "Superfund sites, oil sites, and chemical facilities" inundated by the storm. 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.

For context, the United States has no governing body that's responsible for regulating the Internet, other than false commercialization (handled by the FTC) and illegal content, like pornography (handled by the FCC).

That left Congress with little choice but to help fill the gap, Rubio said.