Ocasio-Cortez: Hurricane Maria response shows Puerto Ricans are 'treated like second-class citizens'

Ocasio-Cortez: Hurricane Maria response shows Puerto Ricans are 'treated like second-class citizens'
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Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) said Sunday that the Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria last year shows that Puerto Ricans are treated "like second-class citizens."

"What we saw in Puerto Rico was a mass death of 3,000 people. It was the worst humanitarian crisis in modern American history and many, many people impacted by this storm point to government inaction as the cause of death," Ocasio-Cortez, a self-identified democratic socialist, said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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Ocasio-Cortez, whose mother is Puerto Rican and who said her grandfather died in the storm, said the "chronic neglect" of Puerto Rico is indicative of a colonial relationship between the U.S. government and the island. That neglect, she said, led to a breakdown in communication during last year's storm, which killed nearly 3,000 people and devastated the island.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE has in recent days claimed without evidence that the Puerto Rican government’s official death toll from Hurricane Maria of 2,975 is inaccurate. He has asserted, also without evidence, that Democrats spiked the total to make him look bad. 

The Puerto Rican government officially increased the death toll from 64 after a George Washington University study assessed the six-month period after the storm and determined close to 3,000 people died in the hurricane and its aftermath.

Trump's comments have drawn condemnation from Puerto Rican officials, Democrats and a handful of Republicans. 

The Trump administration has been widely criticized for its response to Hurricane Maria last year, when the storm devastated the island and crippled its infrastructure.