[Video] Luis Gutierrez “horrified” by Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico
Democratic representative Luis Gutierrez spoke at the US House of Representatives about what he observed while visiting Puerto Rico over the weekend and about president Donald Trump’s trip to the island on Tuesday.
“I was frankly horrified by the performance of our president yesterday on the island. He said that Puerto Rico was making his budget ‘out of whack’, as if the monetary cost of saving lives is what we should be focusing on, or that an agenda to reduce taxes is as important as the lives of people in danger, ” said Gutierrez.
“They do not need rolls of paper towels thrown at them like shirts at a sports stadium. They need helicopters, bridges, cell towers and generators … I was frankly horrified by the actions of our president yesterday on the island.”
Gutierrez talked about the people who have been calling his office, most of them constituents from his Chicago district, seeking help locating and evacuating their loved ones.
“Two weeks after the hurricane struck Puerto Rico, there are people who have not been heard from and people who are asking for help but have not received it,” said the representative.
He also said he has received requests for help through Facebook, through his constituents, and even from other members of Congress seeking to get people out of Puerto Rico.
“These messages break my heart and I don’t know what to tell people except to say that help may be on the way soon, but of course, that’s not good enough. And I have no explanation as to why it is not already there,” he said.
The representative also criticized Trump for using the current official death count following Hurricane Maria — the initial 16 confirmed deaths were updated to 34 last night — as the “metric” by which the president congratulated himself for his own success.
“I do not think today’s body count is the correct metric, but we should be challenging ourselves to make sure it does not go higher. The most serious event in the modern history of Puerto Rico may not qualify as a significant disaster to our president, but we should not sit back and allow the body count to change his mind. We cannot wait that long,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló said he was focused “on actions, not words”, in the face of criticisms over Trump’s behavior.
His remarks were in reference to Trump’s comments yesterday, when he said that the country’s situation has thrown the US budget “out of whack” and, more recently, his tweet complaining about the “false coverage” of various news outlets during his official visit of just over four hours.
“My focus is on results and actions. I will be where the people of Puerto Rico are, where their needs can be met. Now, my role as governor of Puerto Rico is to make sure that all the [federal] requests we are demanding are met,” said the governor.
Rosselló also refused to react to Trump’s statements during an interview in which he said that Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt would have to be eliminated as the government is currently undergoing a judicial process under Title III of the federal law Promesa.
“We have to work something out. You have to look at the entire debt structure,” Trump said during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. “They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we’ll have to eliminate that. We’re going to have to say goodbye to that. […] We will have to do something, because the island’s debt is massive,” he added.