The retired lieutenant general who was credited with turning around the government’s disastrous initial response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 by then-President George W. Bush, joined a growing chorus of criticism from Congress about the Trump administration’s bungled response to Hurricane Maria.
“It’s kind of like Katrina: We got it. We got it. Oh, shit, send in the cavalry,” Russel Honore told Bloomberg in an interview on Wednesday. “This is a hit on White House decision making.”
Honore said the White House should have sent more people and equipment to the island in advance of the monster hurricane, and the Department of Defense should be given far greater authority over the response.
“We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and in Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico,” Trump said Tuesday of his administration’s Hurricane Maria relief efforts. “But the difference is this is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. It’s a big ocean, it’s a very big ocean. And we’re doing a really good job.”
Despite the high marks he has given his administration, the situation on the ground is growing more desperate by the hour as mountains of food, water and other vital supplies has arrived in Puerto Rico’s main Port of San Juan but a shortage of truckers and the island’s devastated infrastructure are making it tough to move aid to where it’s needed most.
About 9,500 containers of supplies were sitting at the Port of San Juan Thursday morning, said Yennifer Alvarez, spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s governor.
Shipping company Crowley said it had 3,000 containers there, filled with clothes, food, medicine, water, construction materials and even cars, reports CNN. As of Wednesday, Crowley had only been able to dispatch 4% of those 3,000 containers, said Jose Ayala, the company’s vice president in Puerto Rico.