Trump waives shipping restrictions for Puerto Rico for hurricane relief


In a change of tune, President Donald Trump has authorized a Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico that will go into effect immediately to help relief efforts.

US President Donald Trump (C) walks out of Air Force One upon his arrival in John F. Kennedy International Airport in NY, on September 26, 2017. But for many, especially those with relatives and loved ones on the island, it wasn't just Trump who neglected to speak on Puerto Rico, it was also the media.

Trump is out with a series of tweets criticizing San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz for criticizing the Trump administration's hurricane response.

The President, who is set to visit the island on Tuesday, added: "Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help".

Cruz paid no mind to Trump's rhetoric, telling CNN her only concern is the health and safety of the people.

The decision to waive the flight policy for Puerto Rico may be why Trump claims he's received rave reviews for his administration's response to the tragedy in Puerto Rico, which is now struggling with a lack of drivers to move aid from ports to victims.

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The 1920 law restricts shipments between U.S. ports to US-owned and operated cargo ships, thus preventing foreign-flagged ships from delivering relief aid to the U.S. territory.

And FEMA Administrator Brock Long said the efforts have been hampered by damaged airports and ports on the island.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Nydia Velazquez (R-NY) had called on Trump to issue a waiver for Puerto Rico, which he said Wednesday he was "thinking about".

As the storm ravaged Puerto Rico over the weekend, Trump sparked and then escalated a feud with the NFL over players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem.

In response, the Department of Homeland Security said the Jones Act was waived after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to make up for fuel pipelines that were shut. So, Kloza said, a waiver of the Jones act won't bring much more fuel to the island since Puerto Rico gets what it needs from other countries.

The Republican president initiated his tweets, some of which were apparently deleted minutes later, by suggesting Cruz's criticism was instigated by Democrats.