'Big decisions will have to be made': Trump shares ominous message on future of Puerto Rico

AOL.com editors

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning to defend his administration's handling of the crisis in Puerto Rico, but left questions as to how the recovery efforts will be financed.

"Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello just stated: 'The Administration and the President, every time we've spoken, they've delivered......'" he wrote, adding "...The fact is that Puerto Rico has been destroyed by two hurricanes. Big decisions will have to be made as to the cost of its rebuilding!"

The president has faced increasing criticism for what some describe as a slow or failed response to the devastation that Hurricane Maria left in its wake after it pummeled the island on September 20 only a few days after Hurricane Irma swept through. The storms killed more than a dozen people and have left the nation's 3.4 million residents without power. 

See how the island has been destroyed: 

Reports of urgent medical needs and even food and water shortages have emerged in recent days. The president defended his response in a series of tweets sent late Thursday as well, praising the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and first responders.

"FEMA & First Responders are doing a GREAT job in Puerto Rico," he wrote in the tweet. "Massive food & water delivered. Docks & electric grid dead. Locals trying really hard to help but many have lost their homes. Military is now on site and I will be there Tuesday. Wish press would treat fairly!"

"Puerto Rico is devastated. Phone system, electric grid many roads, gone. FEMA and First Responders are amazing. Governor said 'great job," he added.

SEE MORE: Half of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico faces lack of drinking water

But reports suggesting a slow response have fueled criticism, especially from Democrats. 

"There is a crisis in Puerto Rico. Fuel, water & medicine sitting at the docks. Need immediate response by US military. Where is the cavalry?" Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, of Florida, tweeted about the crisis. 

Nelson's fellow Floridian in the Senate, Republican and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio, has also been critical of the response, without directly calling the president out.

He also shared a political cartoon on Thursday which depicts him carrying the entire island on his back. 


He also responded to the Trump administration's announcement that Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan had been assigned to coordinate the response efforts with a call for less bureaucracy. 

SEE MORE: Eerie photos show Puerto Rico's cities at night after Hurricane Maria left the island powerless

"Good that 3star general going to #PuertoRico. Now give him the authority to restore logistics without bureaucracy," he wrote on Twitter.

Trump has been criticized for delaying a waiver of the Jones Act, a law that requires all shipping to run on American owned and operated vessels exclusively. Critics, including Puerto Rican officials, complained the law was waived earlier for both Texas and Florida in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The White House announced the act would be waived on Thursday morning.