Joe Biden on Monday admitted the federal government was failing Puerto Rico, speaking as he left the White House to visit two weeks after Hurricane Fiona hit the island.
“I’m heading to Puerto Rico because they haven’t been taken very good care of,” Biden told reporters after exiting the White House.
BIDEN: "I'm heading to Puerto Rico because they haven't been taken very good care of. And they're trying like hell to catch up from the last hurricane, I want to see the state of affairs today and make sure we push everything we can." pic.twitter.com/7reEBiqDoY
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) October 3, 2022
Both the president and First Lady Jill Biden are traveling to Puerto Rico to get updates on the island’s recovery and help pack bags of food and essential items for residents still struggling after the Category 1 storm.
Over 120,000 residents are still without power, two weeks after the storm.
The president pointed to the previous Category 5 Hurricane Maria for devastating the island in 2017.
“They’re trying like hell to catch up from the last hurricane,” Biden said. “I want to see the state of affairs today and make sure we push everything we can.”
Biden also acknowledged the federal government was coming up short during an event with the Congressional Black Caucus on Saturday.
“We owe Puerto Rico a hell of a lot more than they’ve already gotten,” he said.
Biden plans to announce an additional $60 million in federal government spending to strengthen levees and flood walls as well as create a new flood warning system for the island.
But that does not address the primary problems on the island, struggling with a failing power grid.
Biden frequently criticized former President Donald Trump for failing to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria, even though Trump visited the island after the storm.
“What did he do? Toss rolls of paper towels at them. He doesn’t have any real answers,” Biden said during a 2020 campaign drive-in car rally in Tampa.