Tags: tom bossert | puerto rico | aid | debt

Bossert: Trump Made Adjustments for Puerto Rico Aid Because of Debt

(CNN's "New Day")

By    |   Friday, 29 September 2017 09:49 AM

Puerto Rico was $72 billion in debt before Hurricane Maria hit, but President Donald Trump has made adjustments and the federal government is making sure lives are protected, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said Friday.

"The president is already doing whatever it takes," Bossert told CNN's "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo. "He's looking on the horizon for decisions that will come over the next three, four weeks and the next three, four months."

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, appearing earlier on the program, said the Trump administration has been responsive for him, but he also says the situation, for millions of Puerto Ricans, is unacceptable and that the response to the disaster has not been adequate, Cuomo responded.

"I don't accept that we're doing anything short of everything we can do," Bossert said. "Yes, I accept that the people will see at the very end the last person and in the most hardest, it will receive assistance less than they would like. I see a full-throated response and bringing that territory back to its full functional state."

Further, Bossert told Cuomo that he thinks CNN's criticism, and what is coming from Cuomo, has not been well-placed.

"I think President Trump put forces in place before the storm," said Bossert. "We're not slow to respond after it we had a four-star admiral. Yesterday you were focusing on a three-star general. We had more people in place for this storm than we had for the last one."

Adding to the difficulties is that the territory did not have enough "ready liquid cash to pay their normal share like Florida and Texas." Bossert also noted it's a difficult situation to bring aid to an island involved in a major hurricane, and to bring in supplies and distribute them successfully.

"[The governor] is in receive mode of millions of gallons of water, food, now he's running into closed roads, downed power lines and other forces of destructive nature. You've seen this. There was a comparison to a war zone you heard earlier. You're seeing a collective unified effort of all levels of government overcoming that challenge."

On Thursday, Joint Task Force Katrina Commander Russel Honore continued his attacks on the Trump administration's response to the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico and called for a full evacuation of the island.

"He was wrong on his assessment that we didn't have a three-star general command in charge or in place in time," Bossert said. That's an assessment based on his experiences Katrina, which this government has fixed since then. We have a military command structure in place that we either base out of Fort Sam Houston or off the island. We were afloat with men and women here to help."

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Puerto Rico was $72 billion in debt before Hurricane Maria hit, but President Donald Trump has made adjustments and the federal government is making sure lives are protected, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said Friday.
tom bossert, puerto rico, aid, debt
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2017-49-29
Friday, 29 September 2017 09:49 AM
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