Carson says people of Puerto Rico have 'suffered just tremendously'

Carson says people of Puerto Rico have 'suffered just tremendously'
© Greg Nash

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBen CarsonRace is not central to Rittenhouse case — but the media shout it anyway Trump endorses primary challenger to Peter Meijer in Michigan Sunday shows preview: Frustration runs high as infrastructure talks hit setback MORE said Puerto Rico has suffered 'tremendously' after the devastation from Hurricane Maria.

Carson made the comment in an interview hosted by The Hill on Wednesday morning.

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“The people in Puerto Rico have suffered just tremendously," Carson said, detailing his department's efforts to help newly homeless American citizens there rebuild their lives.

He added jokingly that rebuilding the U.S. territory could take between "one and 100 years."

The Senate easily cleared a disaster relief bill on Tuesday, sending the legislation to President Trump's desk.

The bill, which passed the House earlier this month, would provide $36.5 billion to fund hurricane relief, a flood insurance program and wildfire recovery efforts in the West.

Carson's comments come as the mayor of Puerto Rico’s largest city said a contract to fix the island’s hurricane-ravaged electric grid should be “voided” after it was awarded to a small Montana firm.

House Democrats are pushing for an investigation into the $300 million contract signed by Whitefish Energy.

The company is based in the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeWatchdog: Trump official boosted former employer in Interior committee membership Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE, but the agency and Whitefish officials have said Zinke had no role in awarding the contract.

According to the Puerto Rican government, 75 percent of Puerto Rico remains without power and 25 percent without safe drinking water.

— This report was updated to clarify Carson's remarks at 1:50 p.m. EST