Pres­i­dent lashes out at Puerto Rico; aid pack­age weighed

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - BY KEN THOMAS AND AN­DREW TAY­LOR

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lashed out at hur­ri­cane-dev­as­tated Puerto Rico on Thurs­day, in­sist­ing in tweets that the fed­eral gover nment 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 Cr uz, 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 them oral 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 Puer to Rico’s fi­nan­ciallystrapped govern­ment. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the gover nment needs to en­sure that Puerto Rico can “be gin 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.

RA­MON ESPINOSA / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Efrain Diaz Figueroa, right, walks by his sis­ter’s home de­stroyed by the pass­ing of Hur­ri­cane Maria in San Juan, Puer to Rico, on Mon­day.

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