Florida Senator Marco Rubio sent a letter to President Trump declaring that more needed to be done with leadership in the devastation that Puerto Rico is facing. He also said on Sunday that political “bickering” is taking time and energy that should be given to the response to the ongoing crisis.
“Every minute we spend in the political realm bickering with one another over who’s doing what, or who’s wrong, or who didn’t do right is a minute of energy and time that we’re not spending trying to get the response right,” Rubio said on “Face the Nation.”
“I think everyone involved in the response has things they could have done better,” he said. “But right now I hope we’ll stay 100 percent focused on what needs to be done to get the people of Puerto Rico help. And then we’ll have plenty of time in the future to have these debates about who didn’t do the right thing or what could have been done better.”
Rubio said that “having lived through four hurricanes, nothing like what Puerto Rico’s facing, you know, our desire is to be a voice and a force for positive results, helping people. I truly believe that if we don’t get ahead of the curve there bad things are going to happen.”
Rubio comments were somewhat counter to President Trump’s defense of his administration’s response to the crisis in Puerto Rico.
“We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico,” Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday, adding, “Outside Fake News or politically motivated ingrates … people are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military.”
The Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz has been highly critical of Trump’s administration saying it was “killing us with the inefficiency.” Cruz told CBS News that “if the supply chain of aid is not constant, is not properly administered, is not properly replenished, then the business of saving lives will go bankrupt.”
The president again defended his position by firing back at Cruz on Saturday tweeting, ”Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”
Rubio explained that the federal government responded to the storm in Puerto Rico no differently that the response in Texas and Florida. But the fact that aid has yet to reach Puerto Rican citizens is due to the government of Puerto Rico being a victim itself.
“There are 78 municipalities. Some of those mayors themselves couldn’t communicate with San Juan. And even if they could, and even if you could get to them and deliver aid to those mayors, they didn’t have enough municipal employees to be able to deliver the aid. Or they didn’t have the resources like fuel, or vehicles, or even drivers in many cases. So they recognized that a few days later,” he said.
He said that only the Department of Defense could fix the systems that were “broken” by the storm. “From the time you make a decision to make a change to the time you start to see its impact takes a number of days,” Rubio said. “And hopefully we are now at that point in time where we’re going to begin to see some measurable progress.”
The Republican senator said that the area of most concerns for him are the hospitals. “I’m concerned about the capacity of these hospitals. I’m concerned about how many medical personnel might still be around. And do they have sufficient quantities of that? And obviously the fuel systems in these hospitals require the operation of generators,” Rubio said.
“So I know that FEMA and I know that emergency responders are aware of this and are trying to address it at the front end. But that’s something to keep an eye on,” he added.
What do you think of the way Rubio responded to the crisis, especially his thoughts about the political “bickering?”
Credit: CBS News