President Donald Trump has declared an emergency in Puerto Rico due to the threat of Tropical Storm Dorian.
The move follows a request for the declaration from Republican U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott. The duo made the request to Trump Tuesday evening. Later that night, Trump made the formal declaration.
That declaration reads, in part, “The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 78 municipalities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.”
Trump took heavy criticism over his handling of the island following a hit by Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rican officials cite an independent study showing nearly 3,000 people died from both the direct impact of Maria and the subsequent six months due to lack of electricity, interruptions of the health care system and other issues caused by the storm.
That’s prompted some Puerto Rican officials to criticize Trump’s handling of the storm. Most prominent among them is San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has labeled Trump a “racist,” among other critiques.
That battle has been egged on by the President, who has bashed the island and its leadership for months. Those attacks even continued Wednesday morning, ahead of the strike by Dorian.
“We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You — Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!”
Trump has also repeatedly pushed phony numbers about the amount of aid received by Puerto Rico.
Still, Trump responded to the push by Sens. Rubio and Scott for the emergency declaration, which will allow FEMA to step up aid efforts to help address any damage caused by Dorian. It is expected to hit the island Wednesday afternoon.