The island's governor is pushing for the federal government to temporarily waive the Jones Act, a law requiring that all goods shipped between US ports be carried by USA owned-and-operated ships.
The Category 4 storm destroyed the island's electrical grid and left it desperately short of food, clean water and fuel. Anthony also has family living in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is having no problems getting gasoline, diesel fuel and other supplies to the island, Homeland Security said. But President Trump is apparently thrilled about the attention he is receiving, with CNN reporting that Trump told people at a dinner on Monday night that his criticism of the National Football League has "really caught on".
"We are unloading on an hourly basis massive loads of water and food and supplies for Puerto Rico", Trump said, adding that he would visit there on Tuesday.
The Comfort, homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, is one of two hospital ships in the USA military, and the only one kept on the East Coast. "Jones Act relief will also enable islanders to find medicine, especially Canadian pharmaceuticals, at lifesaving rates".
The previous Republican president, George W. Bush, faced widespread criticism for his administration's initial handling of Hurricane Katrina, which killed some 1,800 people in and around New Orleans in 2005.
Meanwhile, while testifying before the Senate Homeland Security Committee Wednesday morning, Duke was asked about the Jones Act in regards to Puerto Rico.
A 2012 report by two University of Puerto Rico economists found that the Jones Act caused a $17 billion loss to the island's economy from 1990 through 2010. In the US, many people don't know Puerto Ricans are USA citizens. U.S. congresswoman Representative Nydia Velazquez, a New York Democrat, compared Trump's response to George W. Bush administration's disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"In their hour of need, Washington can help by suspending the Jones Act and suspending cost-sharing obligations", the House Democrats wrote. It came off the heels of another powerful storm, Hurricane Irma, that had hit less than two weeks before. "We do not lack USA -flagged vessel capacity to move commodities to Puerto Rico". "And we have a lot of ships out there right now".
"It's pretty ugly out there", he said. A post-Jones Puerto Rico could modernize its infrastructure and develop its own island-based shipping industry. Waivers instead must be based on whether enough USA ships are available to accommodate shipping needs.
Donald Trump has finally addressed the crisis taking place in Puerto Rico - but not in the way that millions of Americans stranded without power or safe living conditions on the island were probably hoping. If you spend some time looking at the social media conversation surrounding Puerto Rico as it recovers from Hurricane Maria, it's likely you've seen that just like Velázquez, those concerned about the future of the island are putting pressure on the federal government to do more. He seemed confused about Puerto Rico's physical location in a press conference on Wednesday, labeling it "in the middle" of "a very big ocean" despite it actually being situated on the Northeast corner of the Caribbean Sea.