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Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 10:03 AM
Repeatedly praising the work of the military and federal emergency officials, President Donald Trump used a Thursday meeting at the White House with the Governor of Puerto Rico to proclaim the disaster relief effort in the wake of Hurricane Maria to be a success, pushing back against critics who say much still needs to be done to restore power and other basic services.
"I would give a 10," the President said, ticking off a list of efforts made by FEMA and the military in Puerto Rico, as he sat with the Governor of the island in the Oval Office.
"We have done a really great job," Mr. Trump added. "Texas - again - really far along, Florida really far along," as the President said his administration has more than handled the troubles of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate.
At one point in the Oval Office, the President stepped in for reporters, and asked the Gov. Ricardo Rossello a question - "Did we do a great job?"
"You responded immediately," the Governor answered.
Much still needs to be done in Puerto Rico - a government website today said that just 21 percent of the island has power, while 71 percent now have running water.
"Treat us the same as citizens in Texas, Florida and elsewhere, we will come out of this stronger," the Governor said.
Earlier, the Governor was on Capitol Hill, asking for extra help in a supplemental hurricane relief bill that is expected to come up on the Senate floor next week, urging Senators to include more aid in that package for Puerto Rico.
"Puerto Rico doesn't have another month and a half to address the liquidity issues that it is confronting," said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is also asking for billions more in aid for his own state, hit hard by Hurricane Irma.
Not only does Puerto Rico want more in that aid bill, but officials from Florida and Texas have also requested additional funding; the plan approved by the House last week totals $36.5 billion, and could go higher.
"They're loading it up," said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), "with stuff that has nothing to do with disaster relief."
Shelby, a top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, gave no examples of what extras were being added to the disaster relief bill.