On Monday (October 3), President Joe Biden visited Puerto Rico to assess the damage and pledge support for the island following the devastating impact of Hurricane Fiona.
During his trip, Biden met with officials, surveyed the storm’s damage, and delivered an address where he spoke in Ponce and claimed he had been raised “politically” by the Puerta Rican community in Delaware.
The President also pledged $60 million in federal funding to the U.S. territory of 3.2 million people.
During his address, Biden said, “We have a very… large Puerto Rican population in Delaware,” adding, “I was sort of raised in the Puerto Rican community at home, politically. We came here for a long time as part of both business and pleasure. I’m committed to this island.”
The President also acknowledged previous failures of the federal government to assist the U.S. Island territory but noted that his visit was a signal of the federal government’s support under his leadership.
Pointing to 2017’s Hurricane Maria, Biden admitted, “You haven’t gotten the help in a timely way,” before explaining that “We came here in person to show that we’re with you. All of America is with you.”
In 2017, when Hurricane Maria devastated the island, the Trump administration was criticized for the slow pace of aid, with the island still not fully recovering by the time Hurricane Fiona struck two weeks ago.
The storm caused massive power outages and infrastructure damage that eventually led to the temporary closure of stores and gas stations, prompted by fuel supplies dwindling under heavy generator usage.
Therefore, when the Biden administration temporarily lifted the Jones Act — a law that bans vessels not made in America or owned and crewed by U.S. citizens to transport goods to Puerto Rico — to allow British Petroleum to deliver 300,000 barrels of diesel, the move was cheered.