Puerto Rico’s Governor Dismantles Media Attacks on Trump’s Response
BY PATRICK POOLE SEPTEMBER 25, 2017
Puerto Rico’s Governor Dismantles Media Attacks on Trump’s Response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria
It was clear this weekend that the talking points had gone out to the media: President Trump’s response to both Hurricane Irma earlier this month and Hurricane Maria last week was as disastrous as Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina.
The pushback against the media narrative has come from a surprising source: Puerto Rica Governor Ricardo Rosselló, who served as a Hillary Clinton delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and as an Obama delegate in 2012.
In an interview with PBS Newshour this evening, Rosselló thanked the Trump administration for their prompt response:
JOHN YANG: Governor, are you getting all the aid you need or getting it fast enough from the states?
GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO: First of all, we are very grateful for the administration. They have responded quickly.
The president has been very attentive to the situation, personally calling me several times. FEMA and the FEMA director have been here in Puerto Rico twice. As a matter of fact, they were here with us today, making sure that all the resources in FEMA were working in conjunction with the central government.
We have been working together. We have been getting results. The magnitude of this catastrophe is enormous. This is going to take a lot of help, a lot of collaboration. So, my call is to congressmen and congresswomen to take action quickly and conclusively with an aid package for Puerto Rico.
We are in the midst of potentially having a humanitarian crisis here in Puerto Rico which would translate to a humanitarian crisis in the United States. So, I call upon Congress to take action immediately. You know, Puerto Ricans are proud U.S. citizens.
This is a message that Gov. Rosselló and other Puerto Rican officials had been putting out all weekend.
On Saturday, the Associated Press reported:
Rossello and other officials praised the federal government for planning its response in detail before the storm hit, a contrast with what Puerto Rico has long seen as the neglect of 3.4 million Americans living in a territory without a vote in Congress or the electoral college.
“This is the first time we get this type of federal coordination,” said Resident Commission Jenniffer Gonzalez, Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Washington.
A FEMA press release detailed some of the relief headed towards Puerto Rico:
- Six commercial barges transported and delivered meals, water, generators, cots, and other commodities to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- An air bridge is established, flying three flights per day to St. Croix, each carrying approximately 33,000 meals.
- The logistics support ship SS Wright arrived carrying more than 1.1 million meals, and nearly one million liters of freshwater.
- Two shipping barges with 1.2 million liters of water, 31 generators, and more than 6,000 cots arrived in St. Thomas.
- Two additional shipping barges loaded with food, water, and emergency relief supplies are en route to the Caribbean Sea from Florida.
- Millions of additional meals are being flown to Puerto Rico from staging areas in Kentucky and Florida.
- The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is transporting a shipment of 124,000 gallons of diesel fuel to Puerto Rico, with arrival in the coming days.
It may not be obvious to the media, but one of the difficulties in getting supplies to Puerto Rico is that it’s an island 1200+ nautical miles from Miami, the closest major U.S. port.
Clearing the ports takes time, and getting supplies for 3.4 million people by plane into devastated airports isn’t a real option.
Stars and Stripes reports that the Defense Department has already sent 2,600 personnel to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to assist in recovery.
Read more at PJ Media
Cover Photo Credit: The house of Maribel Quiñones Rivera and her family was left in ruins. (Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/For The Washington Post)