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Rubio: Trump should put military in charge of Puerto Rico aid
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Friday President Trump should put the U.S. military in charge of handling and delivering aid to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, saying only the military can fix the logistical issues hampering aid on the island.
"The logistics chain is broken and only the U.S. military can stand it up. And it is truly my hope that at some point in the next few hours the generals that are down there now, someone with ... two stars, or three stars on their shoulder, will be able to be the ultimate decisionmaker until we get basic logistics," Rubio told CNN's Kate Bolduan.
"I'm not talking about a government military takeover of Puerto Rico's government. I'm talking about logistics," the senator added.
"The challenge here in the immediate term is a logistical challenge. There is aid in Puerto Rico. There is aid sitting at the port. There is aid coming in and more aid to come that can't be allowed in because there's no room for it because the old aid is still there. They have got to get that aid moving to the right places. To do that, you need to restore roads, a bare minimum of power, you need a bare minimum of communication, you need a logistical chain, " he said.
Rubio's comments, which could be met with opposition from Puerto Rican officials, come as people on the island struggle to recover and rebuild nine days after Hurricane Maria slammed the island, leaving it virtually without power.
Trump touted his administration's response to the crisis in a tweet on Friday, and warned "a big decision" would have to be made about rebuilding on the island.
The Trump administration has increased the amount of Pentagon resources being sent to the island and temporarily lifted shipping restrictions that were impeding relief efforts.
However, Puerto Ricans as well as lawmakers have expressed strong frustration with the federal government's response.
The mayor of San Juan called on Trump to ramp up the federal government's assistance to the island and called for an island-wide approach to the relief efforts.
"They're waiting anxiously and will be very grateful to you and to the American people if you continue to step up to the moral imperative that you've taken on all over the world to help those in need," Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told CNN on Friday.