President Trump gives federal gov't "10" out of 10 on Puerto Rico hurricane response

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-20 04:57:07|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday gave the federal government a grade of "10" out of 10 for its response to a hurricane that has devastated Puerto Rico a month ago and still left most of the U.S. territory short of power.

"I'd say it was a 10," Trump said when asked by reporters how he would rate his administration's effort to aid hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, on a one to 10 scale.

Trump made the remarks during a meeting with Puerto Rico's governor Ricardo Rossello, who is in D.C. to discuss with the president the island's dire need for disaster relief.

"We have provided so much, so fast, we were actually there before the storm hit," said Trump, stressing that the situation "was worse than Katrina."

Rossello, sitting next to Trump, declined to give his grade on the federal government's response, but he admitted the administration had met all of his requests, while urging more to be done for the island' s recovery.

About 80 percent of Puerto Rico, home to 3.4 million residents, remains without power, while roughly 30 percent of the island still doesn't have access to clean water, official figures showed.

The House approved last week a 36.5-billion-USD disaster relief package, intended to aid recovery in disaster-ravaged U.S. states and territories, including a sum of 1.27 billion dollars for Puerto Rico.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure this week.

Trump has come under fire for what critics perceive as a slow federal response to the Puerto Rico crisis since Hurricane Maria, one of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes on record, battered the island last month and wreaked havoc on its housing and infrastructure.

"This is actually bigger than anything we've seen, and our response was better than anything we've seen," Trump said Thursday.

However, the president has repeatedly lashed out at Puerto Rican officials who called for more federal assistance and urged local residents to take more responsibility in post-disaster recovery.

Last week, he suggested that he may pull disaster relief responders from Puerto Rico, warned that federal help could not stay there forever.

A poll has recently found that 55 percent of voters believe the federal government hasn't done enough to help Puerto Rico.