Trump delivering aid to Puerto Rico: ‘This is a thing called the Atlantic Ocean, this is tough stuff’

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President Trump on Tuesday said providing supplies and other relief to Puerto Rico is more difficult than similar disaster efforts in Florida and Texas because the U.S. territory is a more isolated island in the Atlantic Ocean.

“We right now have our top people from FEMA, and they have been there,” he said at a White House press conference with Spain’s prime minister. “We are unloading on an hourly basis, massive loads of water and food and supplies for Puerto Rico.”

“And this isn’t like Florida where we can go right up the spine or like Texas where we go right down the middle and we distribute,” Trump said. “This is a thing called the Atlantic Ocean, this is tough stuff.”

Trump’s response to the disaster in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, which has left the island without power, has come under criticism from Democrats who say the president’s focus has been on protests in the NFL and not disaster relief.

{mosads}Trump has rejected those suggestions, saying Puerto Rico is getting the same response as Texas and Florida, which were also hit by hurricanes in the last several weeks. 

“We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and in Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico,” Trump said at the White House. “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 is set to visit Puerto Rico next Tuesday.

He told reporters Tuesday that the extensive damage after the hurricane had prevented any earlier travel to the territory, but that his administration had “shipped massive amounts” of supplies there.

The White House said Monday that Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long and White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert were in Puerto Rico as part of his administration’s response to the storm.

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