Administration

Trump to visit hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

President Trump will travel to Puerto Rico next Tuesday to survey damage from Hurricane Maria, which has ravaged the island and left Americans there without power and struggling to find food and clean water.

The president told reporters at the White House that damage on the ground prevents any earlier travel to the island, which he said has been "literally destroyed."

Trump expressed confidence that "they'll be back" and said the people of Puerto Rico "are important to all of us."

Government officials in Puerto Rico are pleading with the U.S. government for more resources and for Congress to act quickly to pass an aide package.

Trump said his administration has "shipped massive amounts" of food, water and supplies to Puerto Rico, adding that the island "was hit as hard as you could hit."

"When you see 200 mile-an-hour winds, not even Texas had 200 mile-an-hour winds .. literally houses are just demolished, it was like tornadoes. It was like having hundreds of tornadoes. The winds."

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long and White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert are on the ground there, but the White House has been criticized for not doing enough to help struggling Puerto Ricans.

"We've gotten A-pluses on Texas and in Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico," Trump said. "But the difference is this is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. It's a big ocean, it's a very big ocean. And we're doing a really good job."

Trump has inflamed his critics by tweeting attacks against NFL players who have been protesting during the national anthem with the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico.

In a string of Monday night tweets, Trump said getting food and water to Puerto Rico are "top priorities," but added that the U.S. territory was in trouble even before the hurricane hit.

--Jonathan Easley contributed to this report, which was updated at 11:36 a.m.

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