Puerto Rico mayor calls Trump tweet 'unbecoming'

Children play at the Jose de Diego Elementary School where people are filing FEMA forms for federal aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Las Piedras Puerto Rico on Oct. 2. Much of the countryside is still struggling to find fresh water and food

Children play at the Jose de Diego Elementary School where people are filing FEMA forms for federal aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Las Piedras Puerto Rico on Oct. 2. Much of the countryside is still struggling to find fresh water and food

Donald Trump warned on Thursday (Oct 12) that his willingness to help hurricane-battered Puerto Rico was not unlimited, prompting a furious backlash with the major of San Juan branding the U.S. president a "Hater in Chief".

Rather than criticizing Trump directly, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello insisted on "requesting the support that any of our fellow citizens would receive across our Nation".

Without a federally-backed investment plan to not only rebuild the island's infrastructure but also revamp its basic human services (like schools, communications, and hospitals), and replant its crops (of which about 80% have been destroyed), the only option for residents will be mass migration to the U.S. This will not only be disaster for the island and its heritage, but it will create an immigration strain on the U.S. that it is not likely to accept in the current political climate.

Last week, after visiting the island to view relief efforts, Trump had asked Congress to approve an emergency aid package of US$29 billion for Puerto Rico. A FEMA spokeswoman later said the agency would remain in Puerto Rico and other disaster-hit areas "every day" throughout their recoveries.

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"@POTUS your comments about Puerto Rico are unbecoming of a Commander in Chief they seem more to come from a "Hater in Chief", she tweeted.

Puerto Rico has been reeling since Hurricane Maria struck three weeks ago, leaving death and destruction in an unparalleled humanitarian crisis.

On top of that, the death toll is expected to be higher than originally believed.

Just 17% of the USA territory has power, according to the island's government.

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Without congressional action, the territory may not be able to make its payroll or pay vendors by the end of the month.

Democrats said Trump's attacks were "shameful", given that the 3 million-plus US citizens on Puerto Rico are confronting the kind of hardships that would draw howls of outrage if they affected a state. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted: "There is still devastation, Americans are still dying".

Another New York Democrat, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, who was born in Puerto Rico, said in a statement that the president's "most solemn duty is to protect the safety and the security of the American people". "Mr. President, fulfill your moral imperative towards the people of Puerto Rico". Currently, more than 10,000 active duty military personnel from Puerto Rico serve across the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces (Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration). "The Chairman and the Committee fully stand by them in these efforts, and will continue to be at the ready to provide the victims of these devastating hurricanes with the necessary federal resources both now and in the future". Authorities told CNN on Wednesday that the death toll had gone up to 45, but at least some 113 people were still unaccounted for. He added: "These are great people".

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