Even though local officials had said publicly as early as Sept. 20, the day of the storm, that the island was “destroyed,” the sense of urgency didn’t begin to penetrate the White House until Monday, when images of the utter destruction and desperation — and criticism of the administration’s response — began to appear on television, one senior administration official said.Trump's tactic now: Attack the mayor of San Juan, who's criticized his response. The mayor has fired back. The devastation was so great that local officials had nothing to respond with. Massive help was required, particularly a U.S. military response greater than that initially mounted. The Trump administration was slow to waive the law that allowed foreign ships to bring supplies to Puerto Rico and the president has harped on Puerto Rico's debt, though it's no greater than a number of U.S. states.
“The Trump administration was slow off the mark,” said Rep. Darren Soto (D), the first Florida lawmaker of Puerto Rican descent elected to Congress. “. . . We’ve invaded small countries faster than we’ve been helping American citizens in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”
Trump’s public schedule Monday was devoid of any meetings related to the storm, but he was becoming frustrated by the coverage he was seeing on TV, the senior official said.
At a dinner Monday evening with conservative leaders at the White House, Trump opened the gathering by briefly lamenting the tragedy unfolding in Puerto Rico before launching into a lengthy diatribe against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over his opposition to the Republicans’ failed health-care bill, according to one attendee.