“There’s nothing left…it’s been wiped out,” President Donald Trump said of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, hours after Acting Homeland Security Secretary got torched for calling the government’s response in Puerto Rico a “good news story.”
Trump spent the first four minutes of a tax-overhaul pitch to the National Association of Manufacturers talking about hurricane relief efforts.
“All appropriate departments of government, from Homeland Security to Defense, are engaged fully” in disaster relief, he said, calling it an effort that “probably has never been seen for something like this.”
“This is an island, surrounded by water. Big water, ocean water,” he said of Puerto Rico, for viewers not in the know.
“We are closely coordinated with the territorial and local governments, which unfortunately are unable to handle this catastrophic crisis on their own. Totally unable to,” Trump said, explaining the island’s police and truck drivers are “substantially gone” on the island as they focus on their families or are unable to travel to work.
Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, which was at the end of its life before the hurricane hit, is now “wiped out. We’re literally starting from scratch,” he said.
“Ultimately the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us” on the massive rebuilding effort and how it will be funded and what to do about the “tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island.”
“We will not rest…until Puerto Rico is safe. These are great people. We want them to be safe and sound and secure, and we’ll be there every day until that happens,” POTUS promised.
In both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands “they’re trying very hard,” Trump complimented, adding, “nobody has ever seen anything like it.”