The Trump administration sent two top officials to Puerto Rico on Monday to assess the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Maria, the White House said.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long and Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert traveled to the devastated island to deal with the aftermath of the storm.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the trip is part of an “unprecedented movement” planned by the administration to respond to the hurricane, which left much of the island without electricity and water.
Sanders batted away critics who, citing his weekend tweets about athlete protests in the National Football League, say Trump hasn't paid adequate attention to the crisis in Puerto Rico.
“He’s not emphasizing sports," she said.
Many in the U.S. island territory, including Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, say federal aid has not come fast enough. He has called on the Pentagon to beef up its search-and-rescue response and demanded more humanitarian aid.
"We still need some more help. This is clearly a critical disaster in Puerto Rico," he told The Washington Post. "It can't be minimized and we can't start overlooking us now that the storm passed, because the danger lurks."
Sanders countered that the “federal response has been anything but slow,” saying the government has accelerated its life-saving and disaster response efforts.
“The response has been at an unprecedented level and we're supplying federal assistance as quickly as possible,” she said.
Long and Bossert's visit is intended to provide an assessment for a long-term relief package, she said.
This story was updated at 3:06 p.m.