PROVIDENCE, RI - As the crisis continues in Puerto Rico, and President Trump lashes out at storm victims by suggesting the island's residents are not doing enough to help themselves - tweeting: “they want everything to be done for them” - U.S. Senator Jack Reed issued the following statement:

“This is a stunning failure of leadership by President Trump.

“The President of the United States should not taunt storm victims.  He should take action and lead.  President Trump was late to respond to this crisis, but it is never too late to do the right thing.  America needs to step up when our fellow Americans are down.

“People are desperate – some have been without power, food, water, and medicine for days -- and our nation is capable of doing more to help.  The American people don’t want to hear insults from the President, they want to see positive results.”

Earlier this week, Senator Reed called for a stepped-up response to the dire post-hurricane humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Reed sent a letter to President Trump expressing deep concern about the situation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and urging swift action by the federal government.

Reed and his colleagues outlined eight specific actions the Trump administration should undertake, including:

  • Calling on President Trump to issue a full Disaster Declaration for the entire island of Puerto Rico, which has yet to happen. 
  • Calling on President Trump to appoint a Special Assistant for Rebuilding, to coordinate the multi-faceted federal efforts for Puerto Rico across all departments and agencies.
  • Calling on President Trump to request more funding to assist Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program. 
  • Calling on President Trump to utilize all federal resources to restore power, including sending Department of Energy experts; 500 utility employees; 100 fuel trucks; and 200 generators. 
  • Calling on President Trump to send more Department of Defense assets: construction battalions to repair power and transportation infrastructure, command and control aircraft for air traffic control; helicopters for search and rescue; and 1,500 service members to provide disaster and humanitarian assistance.
  • Calling on President Trump to work with Congress to waive the local cost share requirement for FEMA public assistance disaster funding for all categories of FEMA public assistance.
  • Calling on President Trump to send assets and expertise from across the federal government to restore communications, including from Department of Commerce, FCC, Coast Guard, and DOD.
  • Calling on President Trump to ensure that FEMA, Coast Guard, and DOD work together effectively to restore all ports to working condition.