Puerto Rico governor to meet with Trump after administration weathers criticism

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump take a walking tour with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, left, and his wife Beatriz Areizaga, to survey hurricane damage and recovery efforts in a neighborhood in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosello will visit the White House Thursday to meet with President Donald Trump, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Speaking at Wednesday's daily press briefing, Sanders announced the pair would discuss the island's efforts to recover and rebuild following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The meeting comes after Trump weathered some criticism for his handling of the crisis.

Hurricane Maria made landfall almost a month ago, but hundreds of thousands of Americans are still without running water.

Twenty of the island's 51 sewage treatment plants are out of service. As of Oct. 14, 85 percent of residents were without power, government officials said.

Rossello has said his goal is to have it back for half the island by Nov. 15 and for 95 percent by Dec. 31. However, he has acknowledged the difficulty of rebuilding the network is tremendous.

On Oct. 12, the House passed a $36.5 billion emergency disaster-relief bill intended to aid Puerto Rico, as well as Florida and Texas. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who visited the island Oct. 13, said he would collaborate with island officials and the White House on longer-term aid.

Trump visited earlier in October. However, he's since criticized the territory, saying in a series of tweets that its government shouldn't expect federal help to last "forever."

The island's "electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes," he wrote. "We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

He changed his tune a day later, saying that "the wonderful people of Puerto Rico" have an "unmatched spirit." He tweeted, "I will always be with them!"

Though Rosello has been publicly supportive of the president's handling of the crisis, the mayor of San Juan has been openly criticized it. Carmen Yulín Cruz spoke out against the administration Sept. 30, after acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke described the recovery effort in Puerto Rico as “a good news story."

Duke later sought to clarify her remark by saying she was pleased by the hard work of those involved but realizes the process is still in its early stages.

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