‘We will not let you down’

USA TODAY US Edition - - OPINION -

White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders de­liv­ered these re­marks Thurs­day about the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­sponse to Hur­ri­cane Maria in Puerto Rico:

The pres­i­dent is ac­tively en­gaged in mon­i­tor­ing the re­cov­ery ef­forts in Puerto Rico.

This morn­ing, he re­ceived an up­date from FEMA (Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency) Ad­min­is­tra­tor Brock Long. Ad­min­is­tra­tor Long has also briefed mem­bers of the Se­nate this morn­ing and mem­bers of the House this afternoon.

The full weight of the United States govern­ment is en­gaged to en­sure that food, wa­ter, health care and other life­sav­ing re­sources are mak­ing it to the peo­ple in need.

At the re­quest of the gover­nor, who is do­ing a ter­rific job, the pres­i­dent waived the Jones Act (which bars non-U.S. flagged ves­sels from bring­ing sup­plies to Puerto Rico). This will en­sure that am­ple re­sources are mak­ing it to the is­land. But we will con­tinue to fo­cus on the chal­lenge of dis­tribut­ing those re­sources.

The is­land set­ting presents lo­gis­ti­cal hur­dles that do not ex­ist on the main­land, where trucks from around the coun­try can con­verge on dis­as­ter areas. Ten thou­sand fed­eral govern­ment re­lief work­ers, in- clud­ing 7,200 troops, are now on the is­land and work­ing tire­lessly to get peo­ple what they need. We have pri­or­i­tized life­sav­ing re­sources to hos­pi­tals and can re­port that 44 of the is­land’s 69 hos­pi­tals are now fully op­er­a­tional.

The Army Corps of En­gi­neers is spear­head­ing a mas­sive mo­bi­liza­tion to re­store power, and this be­gan with pro­vid­ing the diesel fuel nec­es­sary for sus­tain­able emer­gency power gen­er­a­tion. They are also work­ing to re­store longterm power gen­er­a­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion around the is­land.

There’s a long way to go, but we will not rest un­til ev­ery­one is safe and se­cure.

Our mes­sage to the in­cred­i­ble peo­ple of Puerto Rico is this: The pres­i­dent is be­hind you; we all are, the en­tire coun­try. Your un­break­able spirit is an in­spi­ra­tion to us all. We are pray­ing for you. We are work­ing for you. And we will not let you down.

CHIP SOMODEVILLA, GETTY IM­AGES

FEMA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Brock Long

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