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Trump praises Puerto Rico's 'unmatched spirit' after hurricanes

The Hill logo The Hill 10/13/2017 Max Greenwood
Residents affected by Hurricane Maria wait in line to receive unemployment checks in the municipality of Guaynabo outside San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Thursday. © Shannon Stapleton Residents affected by Hurricane Maria wait in line to receive unemployment checks in the municipality of Guaynabo outside San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Thursday. President Trump tweeted a reassurance to Puerto Rico residents on Friday that he "will always be with them," despite his warning a day earlier that federal hurricane response efforts on the island would not last "forever."

But he also said Puerto Ricans were aware of "how bad things were before" Hurricanes Maria and Irma struck the island last month, echoing previous suggestions that the island's poor infrastructure was in part responsible for the damage Puerto Rico sustained.

"The wonderful people of Puerto Rico, with their unmatched spirit, know how bad things were before the H's. I will always be with them!" Trump wrote, apparently using an abbreviation for "hurricanes."

Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would not keep federal emergency workers in Puerto Rico "forever," and suggested that Puerto Rico deserved some of the blame for its own stunted recovery efforts.

Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island over three weeks ago and the Trump administration has faced criticism for its initial response as Puerto Rican lawmakers begged him to help deal with the scarcity of basic necessities like food and clean water.

FEMA's website reports that only 17 percent of the island has had power restored and 64 percent have safe drinking water.


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