Trump calls Puerto Ricans 'wonderful'; reprises comments on island's pre-storm woes

From Reuters - October 13, 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump praised Puerto Ricos people on Friday, calling them wonderful and having an unmatched spirit as the U.S. territory struggles to recover from Hurricane Maria and he weathers criticism for his handling of the disaster.

But the compliment was backhanded as Trump alluded again toPuerto Ricos parlous economic state even before the damage inflicted by last months hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The wonderful people of Puerto Rico, with their unmatched spirit, know how bad things were before the [hurricanes], Trump said on Twitter. I will always be with them!

On Thursday, Trump tweeted criticisms of Puerto Ricos economic problems, saying power and other infrastructure were a disaster before the hurricanes and adding that Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal relief personnel could not be on the island forever.

Irma grazed Puerto Rico and Maria hit directly as the most powerful storm to lash the island in 90 years, devastating the power grid and other infrastructure. Puerto Rico, which owes $72 billion to creditors, had already been grappling with a bankruptcy crisis. The island has spent most of the last decade in recession and its poverty rate is over 40 percent.

Trump has faced criticism for his administrations slow response, seen by critics as less agile than it would have been for a similarly battered region of the U.S. mainland, and for bringing up the cost of relief efforts when he visited the island earlier this month.


Continue reading at Reuters »