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Posted under: News Change Politics

Trump Gives His Puerto Rico Disaster Response A Perfect '10,' As The Island Struggles Without Water And Power

Retired schoolteacher Santa Rosario: "I've never seen anything like this."

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President Donald Trump previously gave his administration's response to the crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria "an A+." 

According to USA Today, President Trump doubled down on that assessment this week as he sat beside Governor Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico to talk to reporters. The president graded his team's Puerto Rico response, "I'd say it was a 10." 

Rossello didn't give the administration's response a grade, but said, "A lot still has to be done."

"It's a tough situation," Trump said. "So much has to be rebuilt, even from before."

The president also touched on "corruption on the island," claiming that that has made supply delivery a struggle.

And he reiterated his earlier statements that the federal government wouldn't be aiding the territory indefinitely. "You know, at some point, FEMA has to leave, first responders have to leave and people have to take over," he said.

Things on the ground remain dire in Puerto Rico. As of this week, tens of thousands of people are without jobs, power, water and shelter. ABC News reports that 80 percent of the island is still without electricity, and 30 percent of residents still have no access to clean water.

While 90 percent of the island's grocery stores have reopened, their shelves are mostly empty.

"I've never seen anything like this," retired schoolteacher Santa Rosario said as she walked around her barren local supermarket.

"We're not eating well," said 28-year-old Pedro Lopez. "It's a lot of white rice and fried eggs."

Not only are many without proper food, but 5,000 residents are still living in shelters, their homes completely destroyed. Still others, like Lisandro Santiago, and his family, are living in whatever they can find. Santiago is currently sharing a 13-by-9 foot space with his wife, three children and mother-in-law. It's all that remains of their home.

Many of Puerto Rico's cellphone towers aren't operating, and a brown haze in the air has left people suffering coughing fits; the air quality has been particularly hard on those with conditions like asthma.

"Life has changed dramatically," said 50-year-old Gilberto Del Orbe. "I've had no work. Everything is paralyzed."

"If it continues like this, a lot of people are going to leave," said Rosario, who has been surviving on canned chicken and asparagus. "But not me. I will stay here."

"Did we do a great job?" President Trump asked Governor Rossello during their meeting.

With reporters eager to hear his answer, the governor dodged the question: "You responded immediately, sir."

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