Head of National Guard: ‘I Haven’t Seen Any Delay in Federal Help for Puerto Rico’

Puerto Rico took a brutal hit from Hurricane Irma and then Hurricane Maria. While there have been claims from officials that the U.S. territory was not getting the help they needed, the head of the National Guard said on Tuesday that he has not seen a delay in the relief.

Gen. Joseph Lengyel said he has not seen any political posturing that would deny or slow aid to the U.S. territory, which has been hit by two powerful Category 5 storms in the past month that killed at least 16 people and knocked out power on the entire island.

Puerto Rico’s nearly 3.5 million residents are now living without electricity, and Lengyel expects it will be “more than a month” until electricity is fully restored.

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Lengyel said, “We want to make sure they have everything they need. We’re very in touch with the folks in Puerto Rico.”

He went to the island on Monday to assess the damage and meet with Puerto Rico government officials.

He added, “The National Guard Puerto Rico, we have the capacity to send them if they need them.”

So why exactly are there numerous lawmakers making it sound like the relief is dragging their feet and not working hard and fast enough?

“The Trump administration’s response to the destruction in Puerto Rico has been wholly inadequate,” House Armed Services Committee ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said in a statement Monday.

“A territory of 3.5 million American citizens is almost completely without power, water, food, and telephone service, and we have a handful of helicopters involved in [Defense Department’s] response,” he said. “It’s a disgrace. At a minimum, President Trump needs to assemble a coordinated military effort headed by a three-star general officer, as President Bush did after Hurricane Katrina.”

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, said in a Monday interview President Trump “has not said one word” about Puerto Rico’s residents, nor American citizens in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Clinton even ignorantly stated, “I’m not sure he knows that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.” I wonder if she mistook the men in Benghazi as non-American citizens?

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