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Cuomo Again Condemns Trump For Puerto Rico Recovery Efforts

Office of N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Governor Cuomo takes a tour of rebuilding efforts during his fifth trip to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria devastated the island last summer.

Governor Cuomo finished his fifth trip to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria struck the island last September. He announced a new agricultural trade agreement, and had some harsh words for President Trump.

Cuomo says New York apples, cabbages and onions are being shipped to Puerto Rico, and in exchange is getting watermelon, mangoes, and pumpkins in a trade deal that has grown to $1 million.

The governor spent a couple of days helping to rebuild some of the 70,000 homes that were destroyed, along with student volunteers from the City and State University systems. And he continued his condemnation of President Trump, who he says has neglected Puerto Rico in the ten months since the storm. He says the government of Puerto Rico asked for $94 billion in aid, but so far have received just $5 billion in loans.

“That is disgraceful,” Cuomo said.  

And Cuomo says he’s written a letter to the President, asking Trump to revisit the island, saying that he would even accompany the President there. And he criticized the President’s visit to the island in 2017, where Trump handed out some supplies.

“Come back to Puerto Rico. Apologize for the mistake, say that you will make it right, provide funding for the reconstruction effort and provide help for the struggling economy. Puerto Rico never needed paper towels, Mr. President,” Cuomo said. “They needed funding assistance to rebuild the economy. People needed roofs on their homes. They needed clean water. They didn't need paper towels. Come back and fix the wrong. “

Cuomo says major damaging storms also hit Texas and Florida last fall, and, unlike Puerto Rico, they got the help from the federal government they needed.

And the governor says he plans to increase the number of students who can join the ongoing rebuilding program on the island.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.