Оn Thursday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson promised not to leave hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico after President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that federal emergency responders couldn’t stay on the island “forever.”
“I have no intention of abandoning Puerto Rico. They are a very important part of who we are,” Carson stated while at a House Financial Services Committee hearing.
“The people from Puerto Rico have contributed greatly to the culture of America,” he said to Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.), the top Democrat on the panel.
His remarks were delivered following President Donald Trump issued a flow of tweets on Puerto Rico on Thursday.
“We cannot keep [the Federal Emergency Management Agency], the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” Trump said in the first of a flow of tweets.
Donald Trump also said of the island territory’s current debt and infrastructure problems as compounding the issues on the island.
Pressured by Waters if he agreed with Trump’s tweets, Carson repeated his support for Puerto Rico.
“I think that our job is to make sure that we take care of the disaster that has occurred,” Carson added.
Waters then pressured Carson if the US territory should be “shamed for its own plight?”
“I don’t think it is beneficial to go around shaming people in general,” he replied.
“I am glad to hear you don’t agree with the president,” Waters replied, prior to turning to other housing matters.
Donald Trump’s tweets come at a time when only about 10 percent of the island’s 3.4 million inhabitants have power, Puerto Rico’s government stated on Wednesday.
Guaynabo, a city the Donald and first lady Melania Trump paid a visit several days ago, is also apparently still without electricity.
Democrats have criticized what Trump wrote on Twitter, with Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) calling it “a stunning abandonment of our fellow Americans in their time of greatest need,” and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) questioning why he treats Puerto Ricans “differently” than other US citizens.
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(h/t The Hill)