- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2017

President Trump visited with hurricane victims Tuesday on the streets of Puerto Rico, telling them that they would bounce back from the storm that nearly wiped out the island.

“You always come back,” Mr. Trump told a family that hadn’t had electricity since Hurricane Irma struck nearly a month ago.

A man in the group responded: “Puerto Rico is Puerto Rico.”

The president was visiting the island to survey the damage and recovery efforts after the island was pounded by successive hurricanes. The second storm, Maria, hit Sept. 20 and knocked out the power, drinking water and transportation systems.

Nearly two weeks after the storm, 95 percent of electricity customers still don’t have power and 45 percent of the island doesn’t have clean water.

The Trump administration has been criticized for the slow pace of the recovery efforts, but Mr. Trump strenuously defends the federal government’s performance in the face of widespread devastation.

On the streets of Guaynabo, a city in northern Puerto Rico, residents were heartened to see the president and First Lady Melania Trump.

The Trumps were accompanied on the tour by Gov. Ricardo Rossello and Puerto Rico’s first lady Beatriz Isabel Rossello.

The motorcade from San Juan to Guaynabo passed broken highway dividers and hundreds of downed trees. Along the route, small groups of local residents took photos from the roadside.

A woman held up a sign that read: “You are a bad hombre.” It was a reference to Mr. Trump’s remark about stopping illegal immigrants at the border.

In Guaynabo, Mr. Trump greeted a family, telling a man in a U.S. Army hat that “the concrete holds up but the wood doesn’t.”

He asked the family whether they ever feared the second story of their damaged home would collapse.

“Thank you for being here. It’s so good to see you,” replied the man, speaking in Spanish.

Another family told Mrs. Rossello that they had been trapped in their home.

Mr. Trump said, “You know who helped them? God helped them. That’s right.”

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