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Trump on Puerto Rico debt: 'We will have to wipe that out'
08 October 2017, 12:22 | Todd Saunders
Mr Trump talks with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello
His visit was deemed as "terrible and abominable PR stunt" by San Juan's Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, where the billionaire Republican told the islanders that they should be "very proud" that more people had not died in the storm.
President Donald Trump helped sink Puerto Ricans bond prices with talk of wiping out the USA territory's debt but his budget director dismissed the idea of a bailout Wednesday as the bankrupt island fights to recover from Hurricane Maria.
Asked by AP what he has to say to people still without power, food and water, he spoke of the generators brought to the island and said the electrical grid is being fixed.
Unless Cruz adjusts this tactic for the future, Puerto Ricans would be wise to learn from the misfortune of San Juan and elect a governor who doesn't sacrifice her people for political gain. "We are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency", she said, directing her statements to the USA government.
He said his visit was "not about me" but then praised local officials for offering kind words about the recovery effort and invited one to repeat the "nice things" she'd said earlier.
It's bad enough that Trump has treated Puerto Rico and its 3.1 million inhabitants nearly as an afterthought, as if they were nationals of some foreign country rather than US citizens.
"They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we're going to have to wipe that out", Trump told Geraldo Rivera of Fox News.
He was also lobbed rolls of paper towels into a crowd at a church in what was seen as a unusual and insensitive approach to hurricane relief.
Fred Papali, a physician from Baltimore with family on the island, spent three days witnessing the dire situation in Puerto Rico. To call this Trump's Katrina moment is an insult to former President George W. Bush.
But instead of distinguishing between Puerto Rico's financial crisis and its current humanitarian crisis, Trump chose to lord the island's debt problem over its head. We will help Puerto Rico rebuild from the storm. "We're talking about life or death".
Trump had hoped to visit earlier in the week, but the White House said hard logistics in the aftermath of the storm prevented his trip.
The picture painted by Trump's visit to Puerto Rico, where he toured some of the island's least damaged neighbourhoods and tossed paper towels into a crowd, is far different from the reality elsewhere on the island.
Before and during his visit Tuesday to Puerto Rico, Trump insisted the federal government had done "a great job" providing aid to the people and clearing roads so trucks can deliver food, water and other supplies to remote areas. In another missive, Trump said too many people in Puerto Rico "want everything to be done for them".
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