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Cuomo chides feds over ‘slow’ response to Puerto Rican crisis

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo with engineers, translators, drone

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo with engineers, translators, drone pilots and National Guard members at Kennedy Airport before traveling to Puerto Rico on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Credit: Howard Schnapp

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Saturday said it’s clear that the federal response to the humanitarian and natural disaster on Puerto Rico was poorly planned, slow to react and is now playing a dangerous game of catch-up.

“There is a concept of predeployment that was missed,” the Democrat said on MSNBC. “I think it’s a new team, and I don’t think they were ready for it.”

“Facts are facts,” Cuomo said, dismissing President Donald Trump’s claim that the response has been effective. “The federal government was slow in its deployment.”

“If you get behind in the effort, you never catch up,” said Cuomo, who as housing secretary was on President Bill Clinton’s disaster response team.

He said the federal government needed to plan for Puerto Rico’s problems before the hurricane hit, including a poor power system.

“It should be personal to everyone in this country because we are talking about Americans,” Cuomo said. “We are there for each other.

“That is what this country does and in fact does extremely well: When things are at their worst, Americans are at their best.”

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