After hurricanes, Trump says federal help cannot stay in Puerto Rico ‘forever’

After hurricanes, Trump says federal help cannot stay in Puerto Rico ‘forever’
Rain hangs over homes and businesses, three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, on Wednesday in Aibonito, Puerto Rico. The area is without running water or grid power as a nightly curfew remains in effect. Only 10.6 percent of Puerto Rico's grid electricity has been restored. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to say that federal help cannot stay in Puerto Rico “forever” just weeks after the American territory was devastated by two hurricanes.

What did Trump say?

“‘Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.’ says Sharyl Attkisson,” he wrote, citing the host of “Full Measure.”

Trump added that “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend.”

“We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” he wrote:

What’s going on in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico was in the midst of a financial crisis when Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the island. According to the New York Times, nearly three weeks after Hurricane Maria, 84 percent of the island remains without electricity and only 392 miles of the 5,073 miles of roads are open. About 6,000 people remain in shelters.

The president has been criticized for a slow response to the disaster in Puerto Rico. He feuded with the mayor of San Juan when she said the island needed additional help.

The Times noted that Trump asked Congress on Tuesday for a $4.9 billion loan to help pay some of Puerto Rico’s debt. That request followed another for $29 billion for recovery efforts on the island.

James Norton, a former official in President George W. Bush’s administration, told the Times that it’s “fairly typical” for federal agencies to stay in disaster areas for years after such storms.

“I would expect them to be operating in Texas and Florida for the next couple of years,” he said. Critics noted Trump hasn’t threatened to scale back recovery efforts in Texas or Florida after hurricane damage.

According to the Miami Herald, during a visit to the island earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence said that “we have a long way to go” towards recovery in Puerto Rico.

“We’re here for the long haul,” Pence said. “We’ll continue to provide support. We will continue to move resources in this community.”

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