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Visiting Puerto Rico, Cuomo Attacks Trump’s Response to Earthquakes

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York criticized the Trump administration’s response to a series of powerful earthquakes that has shaken Puerto Rico for weeks, toppling homes and knocking out power to parts of the island, which has still not fully recovered from Hurricane Maria.

If the effects of the tremors have reminded residents of Hurricane Maria’s devastation two years ago, so have the politics surrounding the recovery of the island, which experienced a magnitude-4.6 temblor on Tuesday morning.

“They didn’t respond appropriately at Hurricane Maria,” Mr. Cuomo said in New York City before boarding a plane to the island on Tuesday. “The president showed up and threw paper towels into the crowd, and now we have an earthquake and continuing tremors, and once again the federal government hasn’t showed up the way they should.”

Puerto Rico has become a recurring cudgel for Mr. Cuomo in his attacks on President Trump, which have included criticism over federal immigration policy and the president’s failure to disclose his tax returns. Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has called Mr. Trump’s handling of Hurricane Maria an “embarrassment” and “appalling.”

Mr. Cuomo’s criticism of the federal government’s response to the earthquakes focused on the fact that Mr. Trump still has not released hurricane-related federal funds that he said could be used to address damage from the earthquakes. The seismic activity began in late December and have forced thousands of fearful residents from their homes: More than 8,000 residents are scattered in more than 40 shelters, and thousands more are sleeping in makeshift tents and inside parked cars near highways.

But the island is clearly showing signs of recovery: Electricity has been restored to 99 percent of customers, and the Army Corps of Engineers has mobilized personnel to help install generators.

Read more at The NY Times.

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