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Supplies from Jacksonville sit untouched in Puerto Rico's port

"If we cut some American jobs, replace them with foreign labor and save a few pennies on the delivered goods, then perhaps you could get the answer swayed to yes, but no one has ever made a factual case that this is true", Crowley said in an interview. But many remain desperate for necessities, most urgently water, long after the September 20 hurricane.

"Today is going to be a very difficult and hard day", Rabin said.

In remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington on Friday, President Trump said his administration was "engaged fully in the disaster and the response and recovery effort".

"Well, maybe from where she's standing it's a good news story", Cruz said after seeing a clip of Duke's remarks. "I know that the overall effort has not satiated the need".

On Friday, Governor Roy Cooper authorized sending 200 engineers from the N.C. Army National Guard to Puerto Rico to help with recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria. As the population confronts the challenges of obliterated homes, flooded neighborhoods, desperate citizens trapped incomunicado without food or water for days, Puerto Ricans are still waiting for meaningful emergency relief to arrive. "We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted", Trump said.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said he's working to line up a way to distribute those desperately needed supplies. In addition to activation of 1,460 members of the National Guard, the governors of NY and New Jersey are sending emergency teams.

During this season's trio of monster hurricanes - Harvey, Irma, Maria - Trump and his administration have drifted into the perilous territory of premature self-congratulation in the face of unfolding catastrophe, seemingly unmindful of the "Brownie moment" that scarred George W. Bush's presidency.

Asked about the federal government's response, Cuomo noted the Federal Emergency Management Agency was spread thin after responding to hurricane damage caused in Texas, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands earlier this month and in August. Cruz did praise the feds for getting "boots on the ground" and President Trump for calling, but she said the situation was increasingly dire for the 3 million Americans on the island struggling to find food and water.

The flights to and from the island nation also gave people a chance to touch base with family as almost 90 percent of cell sites remained down Tuesday. Tragedy was compounded this week, as three people died in hospitals due to the power outage.

On Thursday, Duke expressed nothing short of full confidence when she talked to reporters about Puerto Rico outside the White House.



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