On Friday’s broadcast of CNN’s “OutFront,” Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who has family in Puerto Rico, fought back tears and slammed the response to Hurricane Maria as “disgraceful” and placed the blame on President Trump. He also said he has seen corporations and religious charities have bringing more supplies than the government has.
Gutierrez said, “They’re handing out maybe a bottle of water and one meal to a family of five or six, and that was after eight days. And some towns, not even that. I think it isn’t a good job. It’s a disgraceful job. The United States of America is the most powerful, wealthiest country in the world, and this is not a response that’s demonstrative of our power and our wealth. And I’m tired of the president always talking about how much it’s going to cost. It’s costing lives, Mr. President, of children and the elderly and the infirm.”
He called for an operation to evacuate the island, with an emphasis on the ill and elderly. Gutierrez also stated there are some positive developments, such as the hospitals in San Juan receiving a regular petroleum supply and promises from FEMA that 1.7 million meals and 2.5 million liters of water will be delivered.
Gutierrez added, “The command has to come from Washington, DC, from the commander-in-chief, and I would hope that as he likes to talk about the fire and the fury of the armed forces of the United States, that he bring them to Puerto Rico, with that same fire and fury, to save the people of Puerto Rico from what is going to be a disaster here on this island.”
Anchor Jim Scuitto then asked Gutierrez who he holds responsible for the response. Gutierrez answered, “Look, at the top, it’s got to be the president of the United States.”
Gutierrez also stated, “I have to tell you, Jim, in Chicago, three days before the hurricane hit, Chicago, we were already preparing. we mobilized. Only four days after the hurricane, the first 59 palettes of Ensure and Pedialyte and Pampers and medicines from Chicago arrived to the people in Puerto Rico. How is it that a community of people can organize themselves individually, and yet the mighty federal government has not done [so]? I saw corporations and Catholic relief and Christian relief organizations supplying the people of Puerto Rico with more than the federal government. Let me just reiterate that, with more than what the federal government is bringing. That just can’t be. They should be there to augment, to supplement what the federal government –. I’m happy the religious leaders are here. I’m happy the big corporations are sending stuff. I’m thankful to New York City, to Chicago, and to all of the cities that are mobilizing their resources as cities. Because without them, the disaster would have — the disaster would be even worse.”
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