Trump tweets FEMA ‘amazing,’ doing ‘great job’ in Puerto Rico disaster response

Amid mounting criticism, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday night to defend the federal government’s response to the disaster in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Trump wrote that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and first responders were “amazing” and doing a “great job.”

But residents of Puerto Rico and outside observers have taken the government to task for what they see as delayed or insufficient action after Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit the island in nearly 90 years.

Maria blasted through on Sept. 20, killing at least 16 people, knocking out power to nearly all of the island’s 3.4 million residents and leaving half without potable water. Communications on much of the island were also knocked out amid widespread damages that officials say could take months to repair.

Carlos Giusti/AP
Residents wade through a flooded area in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Catano, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017.

ABC News’ Eva Pilgrim reported from the capital San Juan on the humanitarian crisis eight days after Maria struck, as residents waited in line for dwindling water supplies and trucks with gas and supplies struggled to reach residents.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told Pilgrim, “I’m not waiting. I’m not waiting [for federal aid]. I’m working with what we have.”

Pilgrim and ABC News’ Joshua Hoyos reached the storm-ravaged Vieques, an island municipality of Puerto Rico just seven miles away, where they found “no power, no running water” and a hospital “so severely damaged that it has been forced to set up a temporary triage tent outside to treat patients.”

“Just waiting, we’re still waiting,” a doctor at the hospital said, adding that FEMA has only delivered water so far.

Trump came under fire this week for tweeting about NFL player protests and Puerto Rico’s “broken infrastructure & massive debt”…

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