Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on the 3rd Anniversary of Hurricane Maria
Three years ago, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, ultimately costing thousands of lives and destroying the homes and hopes of millions of American citizens. In the storm’s wake, the struggle only worsened, as much of the island waited in the wreckage, often without electricity, food, or water, for help that never came. Today, after three years of hardship, thousands are still living with blue tarps for their roofs. Children still report nightmares, as the aftermath of the aftermath haunts survivors. And a still-shattered economy has forced so many to leave the island and their families.
Jill and I join every American in mourning Puerto Rico’s immense loss, and in honoring the strength and resilience that have carried so many through these tough years.
The current President and his Administration have only made the suffering worse, with years of neglect and contempt toward Puerto Rico. While families and communities banded together, Donald Trump lied about relief, blocked aid, and mocked survivors. He blamed the island for its loss. The way Donald Trump botched Maria was a terrible precursor to COVID-19: He failed to prepare, failed to respond like a president, and failed to protect American citizens from harm.
We all deserve better. Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans deserve better. There is no place in the United States to ever treat any of our own citizens as second-class.
As President, I’ll have the back of every American, including the 3 million on the island. I’ll make sure we deliver, not just with overdue disaster relief, but with a full plan for recovery, respect, and renewal. And, I’ll fight for Puerto Ricans across the mainland, too – with a detailed strategy to get COVID-19 under control, to protect and expand access to health care, and to build our economy back better, creating millions of good-paying jobs.
On this anniversary, it’s not enough to just remember the devastation wrought by Maria – we have to act to make sure that nothing like it ever happens again, and that Puerto Rico forever gets the full dignity and respect that it deserves.