SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Julián Castro, in his first stop since announcing his presidential campaign, told Hispanic political leaders here Monday that President Donald Trump “failed the people of Puerto Rico” with his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria and vowed to far better represent the U.S. territory if elected to replace him.
Castro, the former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, spoke at the Latino Victory Fund summit two days after the the long-anticipated launch of his presidential campaign in his hometown. He said he chose Puerto Rico as his first post-announcement trip “because I want all the people of Puerto Rico to know that you count — that we respect you” — especially after Maria, which devastated the island in 2017.
“The administration failed to prepare for the hurricane, it failed to coordinate a swift response and its has failed in the recovery process as well,” Castro said. He alluded to reports that the administration is now weighing whether to divert disaster relief funds to help fund Trump’s long-sought border wall. “To do so is completely objectionable, immoral and should never happen,” he said.
The Latino Victory Fund meeting was the first of three stops that Castro was making Monday in Puerto Rico. After the summit, he was scheduled to tour two hurricane recovery sites in San Juan.
“This work is nothing new to me,” Castro said, citing his tenure at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, when he visited states struck by natural disaster.
The crowd that Castro addressed at the Latino Victory Fund meeting included the first Latinas elected to Congress from Texas: Democratic U.S. Reps. Veronica Escobar of El Paso and Sylvia Garcia of Houston. Both were elected last year.
Puerto Rico is home to over 3 million U.S. citizens. They cannot vote in the presidential election but can participate in the nominating process.
Source: Texas Tribune Blue Left News