Politico, October 12, 2017
Lewis Nelson and Matthew Nussbaum

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President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that U.S. citizens on the hurricane-ravaged island of Puerto Rico shouldn’t get used to assistance from the federal government — a statement that sparked new outrage and left the White House on the defensive.

“Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes,” Trump wrote on Twitter in a series of posts. “Congress to decide how much to spend. We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

Trump has come under fire for appearing to blame Puerto Rico for neglecting its infrastructure and financial health in recent years, while sparring with local officials and initially giving the U.S. territory less attention than hurricane victims in Texas and Florida.

The tweets on Thursday — which landed as nearly 90 percent of the island was still without power and nearly 40 percent of residents lack access to clean drinking water — particularly touched a nerve. [...]

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