Former President Barack Obama spoke out Tuesday about the need for aid to Puerto Rico in a Twitter post that encouraged Americans to “answer the call.”
The island suffered a devastating blow from Hurricane Maria, leaving residents of the American territory without running water or power, in a situation that has seen Puerto Ricans begging for help from federal agencies.
President Donald Trump faced criticism that he failed to act fast enough to ensure adequate aid reaches the island, and he is also being accused of insensitivity for stating that many of Puerto Rico’s problems, including its debt, predated the hurricane.
Trump tweeted that Puerto Rico was "billions of dollars" in debt to "Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.”
In contrast, Obama encouraged people to donate and highlighted that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
“We're expanding our efforts to help Puerto Rico & the USVI, where our fellow Americans need us right now. Join us at oneamericaappeal.org,” Obama wrote, sharing a video he made with former presidents, including George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, for One America Appeal, which aims to help areas hit by hurricanes, including Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 7, 2017
“As former presidents, we want to help our fellow Americans begin to recover,” Obama says in the short video.
Bush says of the damage caused to Texas, “People are hurting down here, but as one Texan put it, ‘We got more love in Texas than water.’”
Obama’s video share comes as a new poll shows almost half of Americans don’t realize Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.
The New York Times reported that the Morning Consult poll says just 54 percent of Americans are aware that Puerto Ricans are citizens. Those who are least likely to know are between the ages of 18 and 29 (just 37 percent of that age group were aware of that fact).
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