Warren calls for FEMA administrator to step down during Puerto Rico stop

Warren calls for FEMA administrator to step down during Puerto Rico stop
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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Restless progressives eye 2024 Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run MORE (D-Mass.) on Tuesday called on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long to resign during a visit to Puerto Rico, where she slammed the Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria's devastation on the island.

“Puerto Rico has not been treated with respect,” Warren said, according to The Associated Press. “It is insulting. It is disrespectful. This ugliness has gone far enough. Puerto Rico has suffered enough. We will not allow anyone to sabotage your recovery, not even the president of the United States.”


Warren, who has launched an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid, called on Long to step down while blasting President TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE's reported consideration of using disaster aid money to fund a wall along the continental U.S.'s southern border.

Asked about the possibility of statehood for the U.S. territory, Warren said she would "support the decision of the people of Puerto Rico."

The Trump administration has faced heavy criticism for its handling of the disaster-relief response in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017. The storm destroyed infrastructure and left much of the island without power for months.

Puerto Rican officials have said the official death toll from the storm is 2,975, adopting the findings of a government-commissioned study by George Washington University.

The president has remained unflinchingly positive about the government's recovery efforts on the island following the hurricane, giving himself a "10" and declaring it an "incredible, unsung success." 

Trump sparked backlash last year when he insisted without evidence that Democrats had inflated the official death toll from the storm in an effort to make him look bad.

Warren also took a moment to hit Trump over his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Now, make no mistake — this wall is dumb," Warren said. "But it serves the president's purposes, turning people against people, particularly against people of color, and stirring up the fear and hatred he so actively promotes."

The wall has become the central flash-point in the partial government shutdown that entered its 33rd day on Wednesday. Trump has asked for more than $5 billion to build his wall and congressional Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border security measures.

Warren is one of a number of expected candidates to join the Democratic primary field for a 2020 White House bid. She announced her exploratory committee on the last day of 2018.

--Updated at 8:41 a.m.