Trump Reverses Course, Waives Jones Act for Puerto Rico

97% Puerto Ricans still without electricity claims Governor Ricardo Rossello

Rossello said the island's roads are being cleared, but there are still some communities where the hurricane's devastation has made travel hard.

"It will go into effect immediately", Sanders said.

In response, Mr Trump said claimed the Puerto Ricans "want everything to be done for them" and suggested his political rivals had turned Ms Cruz against him. "Puerto Rico needs more help, Mr. President!" over the words "American tragedy".

Trump, tweeting from a golf course in New Jersey (because where else would the president be when citizens of the US are facing a humanitarian crisis?), went on a rant early Saturday morning after Mayor Yulín Cruz of San Juan desperately begged for help on Friday.

"Such poor leadership by the Mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help".

The Jones Act is a little-known federal law that prohibits foreign-flagged ships from shuttling goods between USA ports.

Mayor Cruz said her goal was to save lives without getting distracted by anything else. The White House authorized the waiver, revealing it in a tweet, naturally. Even before Maria hit, the island relied heavily on imports.

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However, as Trump tweeted, the president has received sharp criticism in the press and from the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico's largest city.

President Donald Trump is lashing out at the mayor of Puerto Rico's capital city in a war of words over recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria smashed into the US territory.

But earlier this week, the administration insisted that it would not - and could not - do the same for Puerto Rico.

Acting Homeland Secretary Elaine Duke used the phrase Thursday on the White House driveway, saying the federal response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is "a good news story" and adding that "the relief effort is under control".

Trump is expected to visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

He also suggested that Cruz had been told to criticize the president by "the Democrats" after earlier praising the relief efforts.

"It's a big deployment, it's the biggest that we've had in my time as governor, but I think the desperate nature of the situation in Puerto Rico merits that level of response", said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in announcing the move Friday afternoon.

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