DHS chief clarifies ‘good news story’ remark about Puerto Rico – The Hill (blog)

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke on Friday clarified her Thursday comments that the federal government’s response to devastation in Puerto Rico was a “good news story.”

“We will never be satisfied,” Duke told reporters on Friday at the San Juan International Airport, before boarding a helicopter to view the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, according to CNN.  

“The end of my statement about good news was it was good news that the people of Puerto Rico, the many public servants of the U.S. and the government of Puerto Rico are working together,” Duke said, and that “it’s nice to see the communities together trying to recover and support each other.” 

Duke attracted controversy Thursday with a remark about the hurricane response.  

“I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane,” Duke said.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz called Duke’s comment “irresponsible” on Friday morning, given the deepening humanitarian crisis in the U.S. territory, much of which remains without electricity and basic necessities. 

The White House pushed back Thursday at critics who say the Trump administration’s emergency response to Puerto Rico has been insufficient. White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said the efforts have only seemed slow due to unfair media coverage. 

Homeland Security is working alongside the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Defense to make the needed repairs to deliver resources to the island. 

After the flight over the island Friday, Duke visited with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló to discuss the ongoing recovery operations.

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