Puerto Rico governor says Trump won't meet to discuss hurricane relief

Puerto Rico governor says Trump won't meet to discuss hurricane relief
© Getty Images

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (D) said Friday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE has refused to meet with him directly to discuss hurricane relief efforts.

Rosselló told The Associated Press that while his team has been in touch with federal officials, the White House declined his public and private requests to meet with Trump.

Rosselló said Friday he expected to meet Trump as part of the National Governors Association (NGA) conference in Washington this weekend, but that the White House had ignored prior requests for a face-to-face meeting.


He told the AP that the White House did not offer a reason when it declined his requests. He said he hopes to meet with Trump when a group of governors visit the White House on Monday.

The White House did not receive a request for a meeting this weekend, according to a White House official. 

"The White House and the president have not refused to meet with the governor," the official said. "We continue to have ongoing discussions with the governor about recovery efforts."

An administration official said that, after Rossello's Jan. 17 meeting request. the White House arranged meetings between the governor, Housing Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson says he's 'out of the woods' after being 'extremely sick' with COVID-19 Ben Carson says he used unproven COVID-19 treatment recommended by MyPillow CEO Chelsea Clinton blames Trump for Secret Service officers in quarantine MORE and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long.

After those meetings, the official added, Rosselló did not follow up with a further request for a face-to-face with Trump.

The official added that the governor will interact with Trump this weekend and Monday. 

The governor did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on Friday. 

Rosselló has sought to keep a focus on recovery efforts in Puerto Rico following devastation from Hurricane Maria in 2017.

The storm left much of the island in disarray, and Rosselló has said he believes the president was responsible for the slowness of relief.

Earlier this month, Rosselló attended Trump's State of the Union address at the invitation of Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE (D-N.Y.). Schumer invited him "to highlight that Puerto Rico’s hurricane recovery is far from over."

Rosselló told The Hill before Trump's speech that he was trying to get a meeting with Trump.


— Updated Feb. 23 at 10:00 a.m.