- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Trump administration says it has “filtered out” all criticism of its relief efforts from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yuliz Cruz as Puerto Rico recovers from hurricane damage.

During an interview in ABC’s “This Week,” Brock Long, chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said that as FEMA continues its relief efforts, it is ignoring the near-constant criticism from Ms. Cruz — a Democrat who has criticized President Trump and accused his administration of all but ignoring the island’s plight.

“We filtered out the mayor a long time ago. We don’t have time for the political noise,” Mr. Long said. “The bottom line is, is that we are making progress every day in conjunction with the governor. And in regards to the power failure, we’re restringing a very fragile system every day. As we make progress, simple thunder storms pass through, knocked the progress out.”

“Rebuilding Puerto Rico is going to be a greater conversation for the Congress in conjunction with the governor on how they’re, you know, what the way forward is in the future of Puerto Rico,” he said.

More broadly, Mr. Long said FEMA is stretched thin after the rash of storms this year but remains able to respond to Tropical Storm Nate, which made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in the Mississippi delta late Saturday.

“In regards to resources, of course we’re strained,” Mr. Long said. “You know, bottom line is, is that over nearly 85 percent of my entire agency is deployed right now. We’re still working massive issues in Harvey, Irma, as well as the issues in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and now this one.”

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