Trump Just Threatened To Pull FEMA Out Of Puerto Rico. The Mayor’s Response Is Heartbreaking

As the humanitarian disaster in Puerto Rico caused by two devastating hurricanes continues to drag on interminably – with millions still without clean water, electric power or passable roads – President Trump threatened to stop aiding relief efforts  in a series of tweets today because it costs too much, reigniting his feud with the courageous Mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan.

In response, Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz begged the United Nations, UNICEF, and other international relief agencies in a letter published by NBC News to come and “stand with the people of Puerto Rico and stop the genocide that will result from the lack of appropriate action of a president that doesn’t get it because he has been incapable of looking in our eyes and seeing the pride that burns fiercely in our hearts and souls.”

She also addressed the president directly on Twitter.

While he has no issue with keeping the aid money and FEMA services flowing to hurricane-devastated portions of Texas and Florida or allocating money to fight the western wildfires devastating California, Trump has taken a much different line on Puerto Rico.

Here are today’s tweets from the president:

While Trump tweets, the death toll is rising in Puerto Rico, with some residents now drinking water from contaminated sites to stay alive, and dying from it.

Cruz has been at odds with Trump for weeks in the aftermath of the hurricanes, pointing out the slow and weak response of the federal government, especially when compared to what has been done for Texas and Florida.

“Tweet away to make your administrations mishandling of this humanitarian crisis,” Cruz said in her letter today, adding: “Condemn to a slow death of non-drinkable water, lack of food, lack of medicine while you keep other eager to help from reaching us since they face the impediment of the Jones Act.”

The Department of Homeland Security did issue a waiver on September 28 of the Jones Act, which requires goods shipped there be built and operated by Americans, or they are subject to tariffs and fees.

While about 14 vessels have reached the island under the waiver which runs until October 18, this week DHS said it will not extend the waiver beyond that date.

“We believe that extending the waiver is unnecessary to support humanitarian relief efforts on the island,” DHS Press Secretary David Lapin said in a statement.

In her letter, Cruz added that “The president’s cavalier attitude and threats of withdrawing aid from Puerto Rico seem to be taken out of a book about how to add insult to injury.”

Cruz accused Trump of being “incapable of empathy,” and said bluntly that, “frankly simply (he) cannot get the job done.”

Truly adding insult to injury, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a $36.5 billion funding package that provides significant help to Texas, Florida and the U.S. Western states fighting fires, but treated Puerto Rico like a third world nation, adding to their already huge $74 billion debt rather than just offering assistance – and ignoring the fact that Texas and Florida both have much higher amounts of debt.

While the funding bill cancels a $16 billion debt owed by the National Flood Insurance Program, and includes $3.58 billion in disaster relief grants to be shared by Texas, Florida, Alabama, the U.S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, it also includes a $4.9 billion “loan” to Puerto Rico that has to be repaid.

The money is supposed to help keep the country afloat, but by doing it this way the U.S. opens the door to the islands creditors coming in and trying to claim the money.

To make it worse, Puerto Rico is running out of money, and could possibly have to shut down their government as soon as October 12, 2017. And how do the Republicans “help” them? Adding to their debt.

This comes at a time Puerto Rico, unable to collect taxes or borrow money from banks, is running out of money, and the entire government may have to shut down by the end of this month.

“The president’s expression of impatience with the length of the recovery effort,  now just three weeks old, stood in contrast to the federal investment after prior storms,” reports the New York Times today. 

The Times points out after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, it took the federal government five years to achieve the recovery. James Norton, who worked for DHS under George W. Bush, said that he would expect the feds will continue to operate in Texas for “the next couple years.”

Cruz was clearly disgusted, as are many people who wonder aloud if the fact Puerto Ricans speak Spanish, are largely people of color, don’t have the political clout of the states are all signs that a racist, ignorant president doesn’t see them as deserving of the same benefits of the “white” states.

“There is this view that, somehow, we don’t merit that level of concern or attention or respect from this government,” Melissa Mark-Viverito, the speaker of the New York City Council who is of Puerto Rican heritage said earlier this week, reports the New York Times. “Somehow, we’re a burden and we’re mooching. That’s the kind of language this president is throwing around.”

Cruz was even more direct about Trump: “He is simply incapable of understanding he contributions, the sacrifice and the commitment to democratic values that Puerto Rico has shown for decades,” wrote Cruz in her letter. “His actions are unbecoming of a leader of the free world.”

An island in crisis is facing off with a heartless, racist president and the results could well be worse than what happened with Hurrican Katrina. This is Trump at his worst, and that is saying something.

Add your name to millions demanding Congress take action on the President’s crimes. IMPEACH TRUMP & PENCE!


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