- The Washington Times - Monday, October 16, 2017

Sen. Richard Blumenthal called Monday for an investigation into President Trump’s response to Puerto Rico as the island continues to recover from Hurricane Maria.

“I’ve called for an investigation of the faltering and failing relief efforts there, but I’ve also called for a disaster relief czar who can offer better management and leadership,” the Connecticut Democrat said on CNN.

In addition to the investigation, Mr. Blumenthal plans to send a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about reports that people are drinking water from hazardous waste sites. Clean water has been a scarcity on the island, and he said he’d like the CDC to look into what can be done to prevent possible diseases from this and mosquito-born illnesses, which could also be a problem with the longstanding pools of still water where mosquitoes breed.

“What needs to be investigated is whether there are enough people on the ground, whether resources are being well directed, in management, there’s a lack of leadership,” he said. “The president, in fact, is saying mission abandoned, not mission accomplished.”

Mr. Blumenthal said he hopes the CDC can help provide a way to prevent such illnesses from becoming “epidemics.”

“That’s the reason I am asking them for an immediate plan to prevent this public health collapse,” he said.

Mr. Trump has been heavily criticized for his response to Puerto Rico, with Democrats arguing he has not provided the same resources or relief efforts to the island that he did for Texas and Florida after hurricanes struck those states.

Puerto Rico’s damage after Hurricane Maria swept through in September was far more devastating than originally predicted and left the island without power for several weeks. Resources have been sent, but distribution — particularly to the more isolated areas away from the water — has been a challenge.

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