Trump on Puerto Rico Recovery: FEMA, Military Can't Stay Forever

Posted: Oct 12, 2017 7:30 AM

While President Trump has been supportive of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated the island—he has not shied away from criticizing their dire economic situation.

Thursday morning he tweeted out a quote from journalist Sharyl Attkisson about their financial mess in the wake of the hurricanes.

“'Puerto Rico' survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making,' says Sharyl Attkisson,” he wrote.

Trump also noted that Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was a mess before the storms, and now the big decision will be how much Congress will decide to spend on the island territory.

“A total lack of accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend,” he wrote. “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

The estimates for how much rebuilding Puerto Rico will cost are staggering.

Moody’s Analytics is putting the figures as high as $40 billion for lost economic output due to the lack of power and destroyed roads and $55 billion in property damage.

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In the firm’s analysis, senior economist Adam Kamins said the estimate underscores "why officials are now suggesting that its economy may be set back decades.”

To make matters worse, Puerto Rico’s financial state was terrible to begin with, as Trump explained. The island has been in a recession for 11 years and in “in May, it filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history,” CNN Money reports.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration requested an additional $4.9 billion in emergency funding for Puerto Rico.