Democrat Calls for 9/11-Style Commission to Examine Response to Year-Ago Hurricane

By Susan Jones | September 14, 2018 | 11:27am EDT
Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) (Photo: Screen capture)

( - As Hurricane Florence came ashore in North Carolina on Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and several of her fellow Democrats held a news conference to mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria's devastating blow to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

One of those Democrats is demanding a 9-11 style commission to investigate Trump's response.


Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), who was born in Puerto Rico, expressed outrage on Friday over President Trump's questioning of the new death toll number.

A team of researchers from George Washington University estimates that 2,975 Puerto Ricans died in the storm, a number produced by computer modeling. That's well above the double-digit death toll that emerged in the storm's aftermath.

In two tweets on Thursday, President Trump refuted the research, producing additional outrage from people who can’t stand him anyway.

Trump wrote:

3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000. This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!

Velasquez blasted the Trump administration for "creating the humanitarian crisis through inadequate preparation and incompetent response."

If congressional Republicans truly wanted to help, they could take meaningful steps like pass my bill establishing a 911-style commission to investigate their response to Maria. Not only do we owe this to the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, we owe this to Americans, our fellow citizens, here in the mainland.

We need to know what didn't happen, what type of breakdown, what type of the lack of predisposition of federal assets, knowing that a category 4 was on its track to hit Puerto Rico. Pass my bill, the COUNT Act, setting up (federal) standards for death tolls after disasters.

Move legislation to close Puerto Rico's Medicaid shortfall. These are steps that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell could take today.

Velasquez said the hurricane and its aftermath have taken an emotional toll on Puerto Rico, "and the suicide rate continues to climb."


Also See:
DNC Chair Hints at Multiple Trump Investigations If Dems Win in November

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