“This is an island, surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water,” the president said Friday during a speech in Washington, D.C., about his tax plan. (His comments on Puerto Rico begin around the 42-minute mark).
Pressure has mounted on the president to directly speak about aiding Puerto Rico, which was destroyed in Hurricane Maria’s wake. Many people on the island have been without food, clean water, or electricity in the nine days since the hurricane.
Trump spent last weekend focusing his attention and tweets on athletes’ national anthem protests.
Many have called on Trump to put the military in charge of aiding Puerto Rico. Trump said in his tax plan speech that the U.S. territory’s debt was also complicating relief efforts.
“Ultimately the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort … will be funded,” he said. “And what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island.”
Trump added, “We will not rest, however, until the people of Puerto Rico are safe… These are great people. We want them to be safe and sound and secure and we will be there every day until that happens.”