Capitol Report: Trump threatens to pull FEMA from Puerto Rico

San Juan residents begin to clean up the day after Hurricane Maria made landfall, on Sept. 21.

President Donald Trump said Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency can’t stay in Puerto Rico “forever,” as most residents of the island remain without power.

In a series of tweets, Trump quoted author Sharyl Attkisson as saying the U.S. territory is facing a looming financial crisis “largely of their own making.” He added: “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military and First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

Three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall, only 17% of Puerto Rico’s residents have electricity, according to the territory’s government. See statistics.

The death toll has mounted in the wake of the devastating hurricane, and estimates vary. Gov. Ricardo Rossello says it is up to 45. But reports say there are as many as 36 more, with another 69 people missing.

FEMA chief Brock Long said earlier this week that the agency was “making progress every day” on the island, and working “with the governor.” He also said the agency “filtered out” the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, “a long time ago.” Cruz has charged that the slow response of the agency edged the island “close to genocide.”

FEMA meanwhile is still in Texas and Florida, where hurricanes struck before Maria hit Puerto Rico.

See: FEMA head blames San Juan mayor for ‘political noise’ and says she’s been ‘filtered out.’

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