In a series of early morning tweets, President Donald Trump implied that Puerto Rico is responsible for its difficult path to recovery after Hurricane Maria and said that federal support cannot be provided "forever."
"'Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.' says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of accountability say the Governor. 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!" Trump tweeted Oct 12.
It has been three weeks since Puerto Rico was hit by Maria Sept. 20, and the majority of the U.S. territory is still without power. A lack of clean water and medicine is also a continuing concern, according to The Washington Post.
The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello responded with a tweet, noting that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and that they want the same support their "fellow citizens" would receive after a disaster.
In the time since Maria hit Puerto Rico, Trump has received wide-spread criticism for his response to the crisis.
Trump tried to quiet his critics with a visit to the island, but again drew fire for tossing rolls of paper towels into a crowd of hurricane victims and downplaying the severity of the situation.
These new tweets contradict previous statements by the president and vice president.
"We will not rest, however, until the people of Puerto Rico are safe," Trump said during a Sept 29. speech, according to The Post. "These are great people. We want them to be safe and sound and secure. And we will be there every day until that happens."
During a later visit to the island, Vice President Mike Pence promised that the federal government would "be with [them] every single day until Puerto Rico is restored bigger and better than ever before," according to The Post.
The president tweeted similar promises to residents of Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding, and again after Hurricane Irma struck Florida. Trump never made any statement about reducing or halting federal aid to those states, according to CNN.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed the president's tweets with his own tweet, saying, "There is still devastation, Americans are still dying. FEMA needs to stay until the job is done."
Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry told CNN that the U.S. can only do "so much" to help Puerto Rico.
"I would then again say, 'What is enough?' What is the right amount to satisfy whoever says we're not doing enough," he said. "It's regrettable and it's sad for those people but there only is physically, humanly possible so much that any nation could do in the wake of devastation."
Perry continued, "I lived through it myself, a victim of floods on numerous occasions, had to clean it up, and I will tell you, nobody came to help us, we handled it ourselves."
Sources: The Washington Post, CNN, Donald J. Trump/Twitter (2, 3) / Featured Image: Staff Sgt. Michelle Alvarez-Rea/Department of Defense / Embedded Images: Sgt. Jose Diaz-Ramos/Department of Defense, Petty Officer 3rd Class Dana Denice Legg/U.S. Navy