Washington: United States President Donald Trump has vowed support for the ongoing relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. “It’s been total devastation,” Trump said, adding, “But I think it’s going really well, considering.” Trump said this even as he departed the White House on Friday afternoon ahead of a weekend at his New Jersey golf club.
He said it was a “tough situation” on the island. “The loss of life, it’s always tragic. But it’s been incredible. The results that we’ve had with respect to loss of life. People can’t believe how successful that has been, relatively speaking,” he added.
Trump praised the federal disaster response team that has been working to help the island recover, including his FEMA administrator and acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke. Earlier in the day also, Trump offered support for the island.
“We will not rest, however, until the people of Puerto Rico are safe. These are great people. We want them to be safe and sound and secure, and we will be there every day until that happens,” he said at the beginning of remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington.
“The departments of Homeland Security and Defense are engaged fully in the disaster and the response and recovery effort, probably has never been seen for something like this. This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water. We’re closely coordinated with the territorial and local governments, which are totally and unfortunately unable to handle this catastrophic crisis on their own, just totally unable to. The police and truck drivers are very substantially gone, they’re taking care of their families and largely unable to get involved, largely unable to help,” he added.
The President highlighted the massive devastation that has played out in the nine days since Hurricane Maria hit.
“There’s nothing left. It’s been wiped out. The houses are largely flattened, the roads are washed away. There is no electricity, the plants are gone. They’re gone, it’s not like send a crew in to fix them. Have to build in brand new electric. Sewage system’s wiped out, never been anything like this. So there remains a lot of work to do and we will work with the folks who we’re working with right now, they’re trying very, very hard, I will tell you that, but nobody’s ever seen anything like it,” he said.