Trump, Ryan clear the way for gov't cash to Puerto Rico

The Latest: Trump official praises Puerto Ricans' resilience

The Latest: Trump official praises Puerto Ricans' resilience

It's a move meant to speed up assistance to the island after it was battered by Hurricane Maria.

"Wish press would treat fairly!" he wrote.

President Donald Trump, who will travel to the United States territory early next week, meanwhile defended the response to the disaster on the island, which has been virtually without power, water and telecommunications since getting a twin walloping from hurricanes Irma and Maria. "Following up with a second tweet Trump went on: ".

Trump waived the requirement Thursday, more than a week after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

Cruz became involved in Puerto Rico's Popular Democratic Party in 2003, and was elected president of its women's organization. Trump said his administration "will not rest" until people there are safe.

She upbraided acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, who described the federal response as "a good news story".

Bush famously told his emergency management director, Michael Brown, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job" during what proved to be a tragically inept federal response to deadly Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 2008, still affiliated with the party, she was elected to the House of Representatives in Puerto Rico.

"I know the FEMA people are working hard and they're doing their best, so this is a message for President Trump, thank you for calling San Juan yesterday and listening for our mayday call", Cruz said. "I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane".

Still, Duke's suggestion that the federal response was a "good news story" struck some as tone deaf and reflected the perils of the Trump administration's attempts to reassure Americans that the federal government is responding appropriately to the unfolding crisis. "Help us save lives. This has unique components to it that makes it different from Irma that hit Florida.or Harvey that hit Texas". "We had more people in place for this storm than we had for the last one".

On Thursday, Duke expressed nothing short of full confidence when she talked to reporters about Puerto Rico outside the White House.

He rejected the suggestion that the administration has made any mistakes and assured reporters the White House was firmly grounded in reality.

There's also a sense that officials are struggling to catch up with the quickly worsening narrative on the ground, and in the absence of a high-profile supremo to run the operation, or at least to speak about it publicly, the political messaging about the storm has been inconsistent.

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"Maybe from where she's standing it's a good news story", Yulin Cruz said.

The government's response left retired Gen. Russel Honoré, who turned around the botched response to Katrina in 2005, fuming.

He lauded the relief effort on Friday and said it has been complicated by the fact that the U.S. territory is an island.

Ricardo Ramos, the head of Puerto Rico's power authority, said Friday that electricity has been restored to just 4.5% of the population.

If the government effort continues to appear outpaced by the scale of the disaster, there will inevitably be scrutiny of the man on whose desk the buck stops - Trump.

His only remarks on the situation on Thursday were on Twitter, and did not exactly drip with empathy for the victims. "The power grid is gone". Large numbers of generators are now on Island.

Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said 10,000 federal forces are on the island, including 7,200 troops.

Even so, some of his answers seemed defensive.

He also defended the timing of the Jones Act waiver, saying "that was not too late".

Duke visited Puerto Rico on Friday and backtracked from her good-news-story remarks.

In another CNN interview on Friday Bossert mounted a strong defense of the administration's effort but conceded there were logistical problems to be surmounted.

"Whether we have to address or should address at that point their existing $72 billion of debt and how it's been restructured is something that I'll have to take my lead from the economists on", Bossert said.

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