Trump lashes out at Puerto Rico as House passes aid pack­age

Rome News-Tribune - - CLASSIFIEDS - By Ken Thomas and An­drew Tay­lor As­so­ci­ated Press

WASH­ING­TON — Af­ter hur­ri­canes Har­vey, Irma and Maria blitzed the na­tion, most Amer­i­cans think weather dis­as­ters are get­ting more se­vere and see global warm­ing’s fin­ger­prints.

A new poll from the As­so­ci­ated Press-NORC Cen­ter for Pub­lic Af­fairs Re­search finds that 68 per­cent of Amer­i­cans think weather dis­as­ters seem to be wors­en­ing, com­pared to 28 per­cent who think they are stay­ing the same and only 4 per­cent who say they are less se­vere.

And 46 per­cent of those who think it’s get­ting worse blame man-made cli­mate change mostly or solely for the wild weather, while an­other 39 per­cent say it’s a com­bi­na­tion of global warm­ing and nat­u­ral vari­abil­ity.

“Just with all the hur­ri­canes that are hap­pen­ing this year ... it just seems like things are kind of mixed up,” said Kathy We­ber, a 46-year-old stay-ath­ome mom from Menomonie, Wis­con­sin.

When Hur­ri­cane Nate washed ashore in the Gulf Coast ear­lier this month, it was one of the first storms that Greg Thomp­son did not evac­u­ate for. Thomp­son, a re­tired pest con­trol re­searcher in New Or­leans, said “it’s pretty ir­ra­tional” that peo­ple and politi­cians can deny global warm­ing when the Gulf of Mex­ico is so much hot­ter than decades ago and storms seem so much more pow­er­ful.

“When so many things are hap­pen­ing and so many of them (storms) are in­tense and so many of them are on­cein-500-year lev­els and they’re all oc­cur­ring, it’s a pretty good sign global warm­ing is hav­ing an ef­fect,” Thomp­son said.

— Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lashed out at hur­ri­cane-dev­as­tated Puerto Rico on Thurs­day, in­sist­ing in tweets that the fed­eral govern­ment can’t keep send­ing help “for­ever” and sug­gest­ing the U.S. ter­ri­tory was to blame for its fi­nan­cial strug­gles.

His broad­sides trig­gered an out­cry from Democrats in Wash­ing­ton and of­fi­cials on the is­land, which has been reel­ing since Hur­ri­cane Maria struck three weeks ago, leav­ing death and de­struc­tion in an un­par­al­leled hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.

San Juan Mayor Car­men Yulin Cruz, with whom Trump has had a run­ning war of words, tweeted that the pres­i­dent’s com­ments were “un­be­com­ing” to a com­man­der in chief and “seem more to come from a ‘Hater in Chief.’”

“Mr. Pres­i­dent, you seem to want to dis­re­gard the moral im­per­a­tive that your ad­min­is­tra­tion has been un­able to ful­fill,” the mayor said in a state­ment.

The de­bate played out as the House passed, on a sweep­ing 353-69 vote, a $36.5 bil­lion dis­as­ter aid pack­age that in­cludes as­sis­tance for Puerto Rico’s fi­nan­cially-strapped govern­ment. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the govern­ment needs to en­sure that Puerto Rico can “be­gin to stand on its own two feet” and said the U.S. has “got to do more to help Puerto Rico re­build its own econ­omy.”

Forty-five deaths in Puerto Rico have been blamed on Maria, about 85 per­cent of Puerto Rico res­i­dents still lack elec­tric­ity and the govern­ment says it hopes to have elec­tric­ity re­stored com­pletely by March.

Both Trump and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence vis­ited the is­land last week to reaf­firm the U.S. com­mit­ment to the is­land’s re­cov­ery. But Trump’s tweets Thurs­day raised ques­tions about whether the U.S. would re­main there for the long haul. He tweeted, “We can­not keep FEMA, the Mil­i­tary & the First Re­spon­ders, who have been amaz­ing (un­der the most dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances) in P.R. for­ever!”

In a se­ries of tweets, the pres­i­dent added, “elec­tric and all in­fra­struc­ture was dis­as­ter be­fore hur­ri­canes.” He blamed Puerto Rico for its loom­ing fi­nan­cial cri­sis and “a to­tal lack of ac­count­abil­ity.”

WASH­ING­TON

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