Marie Harf: Trump's Tone on Puerto Rico Needs More Heart

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The declaration is intended to make available resources and assistance to help families who are fleeing the destruction that has occurred in their homeland and coming to Florida. "Because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico and that's fine, we've saved a lot of lives".

"And what is your death count as of this moment?"

Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in Florida to help with Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico. "We ask that you ensure these islands receive higher priority than they have thus far".

After spending "significant time" in Puerto Rico, Trump is scheduled to travel on October 4 to Las Vegas, site of the mass shooting that left at least 59 people dead and 527 others wounded. "And I'll tell you what, I think we've done just as good in Puerto Rico, and it's actually a much tougher situation".

The president has gotten more comfortable with these visits, after traveling to Texas after Hurricane Harvey and Florida after Hurricane Irma. "This is also about giving the people of Puerto Rico the respect we deserve; and recognizing the moral imperative to do both".

The president has some previous association with the island.

The order directs Florida's emergency management director to execute the state's comprehensive emergency management plan "and other response, recovery and mitigation plans necessary to cope with the emergency". "He was giving us the highest grades". While Trump was on a golf course, Cruz and her family have been sleeping on cots in a hurricane shelter.

"Everything in the government has collapsed", Pascual told me by phone from the parking lot of a San Juan medical center, one of the few places in the city where she said she could get a reliable cellphone signal. Businesses are also beginning to re-open, with 60 percent of retail gas stations now up and running. You have got to hang it to Trump: anybody can say horribly racist things about Hispanic people on a golden escalator, but it takes real balls to do it while their fellow citizens are dying. In 1917, the U.S. granted citizenship to Puerto Ricans through the Jones-Shafroth Act. "To get together as a community and help those who are in need".

For many, however, Washington's response isn't enough. It was done when he paid Puerto Rico no mind for days as the territory slipped into humanitarian catastrophe, attacking black professional athletes and, when he finally did address the crisis, largely blaming the island's debts for its troubles.