Trump Talks Pulling FEMA Amid Struggle to Help Puerto Rico

Chuck Schumer says FEMA's work is 'not even close to done'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2017 9:53 AM CDT
Trump Talks Pulling FEMA Amid Struggle to Help Puerto Rico
President Trump waves as he boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Trump is warning that hurricane relief for Puerto Rico has an end date even as federal officials acknowledge a massive food shortage on the island three weeks after Hurricane Maria. "We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!" Trump tweeted Thursday, per NBC News, adding "electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes." He said it would be up to Congress "to decide how much to spend." The comments are in stark contrast to Mike Pence's message to Puerto Ricans last week that the government "will be with you every single day until Puerto Rico is restored bigger and better than ever before," per the Washington Post.

Democrats were quick to lash out at Trump's tweets Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer among them. In a tweet, Schumer accused the president of treating Puerto Ricans "differently than other Americans," adding, "FEMA needs to stay until the job is done and right now, it's not even close to done." Indeed, FEMA officials say the government is providing 200,000 meals a day to Puerto Ricans when at least 2 million per day are needed, reports the Guardian, which notes more than a third of Puerto Ricans are still without safe drinking water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, residents are so desperate for a drink that they've attempted to take water from Superfund sites contaminated with hazardous waste, reports CNN. (More Puerto Rico stories.)

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