Trump Warns Puerto Rico Weeks After Storms: Federal Help Cannot Stay 'Forever'

Puerto Rico's hurricane death toll rises to 45

Trump Attacks Puerto Rico, Threatens To Pull Emergency Responders

After staying silent for days following Hurricane Maria's utter devastation of Puerto Rico, Donald Trump's initial instinct was to blame the island for its problems, remind the US territory that it owes Wall Street a lot of money, and attack the Mayor of San Juan for stating, factually, that more aid was necessary.

The U.S. environmental regulator warned residents of Puerto Rico on Wednesday not to break into wells at industrial waste sites as parts of the island still struggle with drinking water shortages three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit.

The president adds: "We can not keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been unbelievable (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

Carmen Yulin Cruz says on Twitter that Trump's words "seem more to come from a 'Hater in Chief".

FEMA says there are now some 19,000 federal civilian personnel and military service members - including more than 1,400 FEMA personnel - working in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) went after President Trump on Thursday after he signaled he may pull emergency responders from Puerto Rico, which is still reeling from the devastation left by Hurricane Maria.

Almost three weeks after Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico, the vast majority of the island remains without power and the death toll from the storm has risen to 45, authorities said.

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The mayor tweeted that Trump is "incapable of fulfilling the moral imperative to help the people of PR. Shame on you!"

Meanwhile, the death count in Puerto Rico-which Trump has repeatedly bragged about being in the low double-digits-is thought to be roughly ten times the official count.

Trump's latest outburst immediately touched off criticism.

The recovery has moved slowly since Maria struck the USA territory on September 20, leaving most of the island without basic services such as power and running water, according to residents, relief workers and local elected officials. It has killed at least 45 people, and about 85 percent of Puerto Rico residents still lack electricity. An additional $577 million would pay for western firefighting efforts.

Officials in Puerto Rico have said it could take $5 billion to get the island's electrical infrastructure up and running again.

When he visited Puerto Rico last week, Trump said, "Now I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that's fine". (He must have seen the promotion last Sunday.) See my interview w/Puerto Rico's governor on the island's fiscal disaster prior to the hurricane.

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