House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn’t exactly contradicted President Trump on the issue of Puerto Rico, but he also isn’t repeating the POTUS’ controversial stance on the U.S. territory’s recovery after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Ryan told reporters at his weekly news conference, “We need to make sure that Puerto Rico can begin to stand on its own two feet.”
Ryan added that Puerto Rico “already had tough fiscal problems to begin with,” and as such, “We’ve got to do more to help Puerto Rico rebuild its own economy so that it can be self-sufficient.” His words arrive after the president tweeted that he wants to pull FEMA and the military out of Puerto Rico, although the island lacks electricity, internet, or clean water.
“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 morning. It was another in a long line of comments that seem to lack compassion for the U.S. territory. The President has also suggested that Puerto Rico isn’t as big a disaster as Hurricane Katrina because the death toll is lower. Meanwhile, FEMA has removed statistics about Puerto Rican recovery from its website.
Also this morning, Chris Cuomo and Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA) got into it on CNN over whether the official death toll will rise in Puerto Rico once they can actually get the numbers crunched and communicated to the mainland. Perry also rejected Cuomo’s characterization of Trump’s Thursday tweet as “insensitive.”
Instead of quibbling over the death toll, Ryan emphasized the hard road Puerto Rico has ahead. “There’s a humanitarian crisis that has to be attended to,” he said. “And this is an area where the federal government has a responsibility, and we’re acting on it.”
(Via The Hill)