Dem strategist: Trump admin response in Puerto Rico shows 'irresponsibility across the board'

Democratic strategist Estuardo Rodriguez says the federal response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico shows “irresponsibility across the board.”

Rodriguez, a Raben Group strategist, said the Trump administration did not extend much-needed temporary housing for Hurricane Maria survivors, unlike the George W. Bush administration after Hurricane Katrina.

"In Puerto Rico, they were cut off three months ago until a court stepped in to let them and force [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] to continue the FEMA-subsidized housing program,” Rodriguez told Hill.TV co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising.”

"That’s up — the remaining families are on the street as of tomorrow, barely reaching the cap, which is 18 months," he said, adding, "So, irresponsibility across the board."

A federal judge has repeatedly ordered FEMA to extend its Transitional Sheltering Assistance program for survivors of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The disaster-relief agency extended the temporary housing program amid ongoing litigation from advocacy groups in July, but this expired on Aug. 31.

FEMA has acknowledged its own failings following Hurricane Maria.

The disaster-relief agency issued a report nine months after the Category 5 storm, saying it had not been adequately prepared following multiple catastrophic storms.

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit and a month after Hurricane Harvey.

But Trump praised FEMA and his administration’s work when asked about what lessons could be learned from Puerto Rico during a press briefing on Tuesday. 

"I actually think it was one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about," Trump said alongside Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenInvestigation into FEMA head referred to prosecutors: report Gowdy requests FEMA administrator’s travel records amid allegations The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE and FEMA Administrator Brock Long. 

This comes just weeks after the island officially raised its death toll from Hurricane Maria to nearly 3,000 last month, following government-commissioned study by George Washington University.

— Tess Bonn