Trump Warns Hurricane-Devastated Puerto Rico of Limits to Federal Aid
U.S. President Donald Trump warned Puerto Rico on Twitter Thursday that federal aid to the hurricane-devastated U.S. territory will not be provided indefinitely.
"...We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!," Trump said Thursday morning on Twitter.
Trump also cited Sharyl Attkisson, a television host for the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, who the president said blamed Puerto Rico for its dire financial situation.
"Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making." says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of.....
...accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend....
Puerto Rico's financial situation has worsened over a period of time, prompting the territory to file for bankruptcy in May and work with Congress to restructure more than $120 billion in debt. But after Hurricane Maria destroyed much of the island, Puerto Rico's financial crisis escalated into a humanitarian crisis.
Recovery has been slow, leaving many of the islands 3.4 million residents without basic services such as running water and power.
The U.S. Department of Defense said Wednesday 89 percent of the island's residents were still without electricity two weeks after Maria made landfall. About half of the residents had cellular service, according to a website created by the Puerto Rican government. As of Tuesday, 43 of Puerto Rico's 72 hospitals were operating with power.
The death toll from Maria has climbed to 45 and 113 people remain unaccounted for, according to Puerto Rico's Department of Public Safety spokeswoman, Karixia Ortiz.
In a reply to Trump's latest tweets about Puerto Rico, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the island's residents deserve to have the full support of the U.S. government, as did Texas, Florida and other southern U.S. states that were stricken recently by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
"There is still devastation, Americans are still dying. FEMA needs to stay until the job is done," Schumer wrote on Twitter.
Although Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens they, like residents of other U.S. territories, cannot vote in general presidential elections unless they become residents of one of the 50 states.
According to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, these citizens "cannot vote in the presidential election" unless they have official residency in a U.S. state or the District of Columbia."
Despite their inability to vote in presidential elections, the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act says people born in Puerto Rico have the same birthright citizenship as anyone born in the 50 states.
Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello stressed the status of the island's residents last month as he issued a plea for federal assistance.
"Puerto Rico, which is part of the United States, can turn into a humanitarian crisis," Rossello said. "To avoid that, recognize that we Puerto Ricans are American citizens. When we speak of a catastrophe, everyone must be treated equally."