President of the United States Donald Trump made an appearance in Puerto Rico for the first time on Tues, Oct. 3, two weeks after Hurricane Maria destroyed the U.S. territory. The confirmation of his plans came from criticisms on the manner in which he has handled the situation, waiting until the majority of the residents have run low on food supplies, clean water and fuel, and lack power and phone service.
The White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee, confirmed on the morning of Mon, Oct. 2 that the president’s schedule to visit Puerto Rico was still on. It has become clear that Trump was not shaken by the criticism that San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz led on the response of the administration on Fri, Sept. 29.
Cruz criticized Trump saying that he was slow to respond and urged him to act more decisively, but Trump took to Twitter to accuse her of “poor leadership.” These remarks had raised issues among many in Puerto Ricans on whether Trump cared for the island.
“She (Cruz) has been invited to participate in the events tomorrow, and we hope those conversations will happen and that we can all work together to move forward,” Sanders told reporters on Mon, Oct. 1, apparently responding to Cruz’s claims.
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Wed, Sept. 20, killing 16 people and interfered with electricity, water and telephone services. Confirming the severity of the situation, Cruz told BBC that the island was “in a humanitarian crisis.”
“Our hospitals have no diesel. And of course no diesel means no life support systems,” Cruz reported. “”People that are dependent on diesel in order to breathe are running out of diesel or their batteries are running out. So they’re really fighting life or death situations,” she added.
According to the Defense Department, following the incident, about 44 percent of the 3.5 million residents of Puerto Rico still lacked clean drinking water six days after the hurricane had torn through the area.
On Tues, Sept. 26, in a series of tweets, Trump had said in regard to Puerto Rico that, “…It’s old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars… …owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well…”
An announcement from the Whitehouse indicated that Trump had increased the federal spending and assistance toward in clearing of the debris and response to emergencies ahead of his visit.
Trump said he will spend “significant time” in Puerto Rico to show solidarity.