Romney: Put aside controversies, prioritize Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

Romney: Put aside controversies, prioritize Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
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Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday joined the chorus of voices calling on lawmakers to prioritize hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands before a humanitarian crisis unfolds.

Romney made the plea in a tweet to "put aside controversies" and "prioritize rescue" efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria tore through the Caribbean last week.

He said former Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño warned him that the American territory is on the "brink of a humanitarian disaster."

 Other prominent figures like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and other Democratic lawmakers have called on President Trump to step up the government's rescue efforts as nearly 3.4 million residents in Puerto Rico are living without electricity after the storm knocked out the power on Wednesday.   

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Earlier Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged the Pentagon to send more hands to help the territories with recovery efforts, saying that they “deserve to know that their government will be there for them, without question or hesitation," The Washington Post reported.

Hurricane Maria brought massive amounts of destruction to the Caribbean as whipping winds and relentless rain reduced buildings to shambles and claimed the lives of more than a dozen people in the region.

It could be months before they restore power as repair efforts just begin to get underway, officials say.

Federal emergency relief resources are already strained after a wave of powerful storms hit the U.S. over the past two months, leaving other parts of the country reeling from natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló called the Category 4 storm the "most devastating storm to hit the island this century, if not in modern history."