When President Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. wouldn't be able to stay in Puerto Rico and help with recovery efforts forever, hinting that the U.S. may be about to withdraw Hurricane Maria relief support in the near future, many people in America took offense.
But for Nydia Velazquez, the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress, it was personal. She let Trump, and the nation, know how she felt in a speech before the House Financial Services committee.
“Why is it he doesn’t put the same tweets when it comes to Texas or Florida?” she asked.
What she said
“I am the only member who is a Puerto Rican-American citizen who sits in this committee. … I just would like for you to let him know how shameful all the tweets that he put out this morning are. How offended and insulted I am as an American citizen."
"I would like to suggest that the president get some history lessons regarding the Puerto Rican relationship with the United States.
"Puerto Ricans didn't invite the United States armed forces. They were invaded. So with that invasion comes responsibility. In 1917, American citizenship was imposed on Puerto Ricans. Timely so they could join the armed forces and fight in World War I.
"So, those tweets are unpresidential. The most basic, fundamental responsibility of the president of the United States; the president of the most powerful country in the world, is to show up and provide the assistance and relief that American citizens need. "
What was she responding to?
Velazquez was responding to Thursday morning tweets by Trump:
"Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making." says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of.....— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1507805382.0
...accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend....— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1507805933.0
...We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1507806420.0
More about Velazquez
Velazquez is a Democratic representative serving her 13th term in New York's 7th district. She was first elected in 1992, and currently serves as the ranking member on the House Small Business Committee and as a senior member of the Financial Services Committee.
She has been a vocal critic of Trump before, both related to Hurricane Maria and to the allegations surrounding his presidency. She has said that Hurricane Maria was "going to be Mr. Trump's Katrina" and that "we need to spend less time putting out tweets" and more time aiding Puerto Rico.