More than 80% of Puerto Rico remains without power after last month's hurricanes. Still, President Trump, who by his own account has "a big heart," took to Twitter on Thursday to lament how much help Americans there need.
"We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!" Trump tweeted, implying that Puerto Rico faced a crisis "of its own making."
If halting aid to Puerto Rico seems premature, consider this: FEMA's recovery efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina lasted a decade. Puerto Rico, in comparison, is just 22 days out.
If Trump was fretting over the cost of aiding the island, lawmakers didn't. The House approved a $36.5 billion aid package on Thursday to help hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida and elsewhere.
It's OnPolitics Today, the daily politics roundup from USA TODAY. Subscribe here.
Trump's chief of staff: 'I don't think I'm being fired today'
John Kelly's job's not easy. The Trump chief of staff has to corral a White House that one Republican described as an "adult day care center" amid talk that he might bail or be axed any week like his predecessor, Reince Priebus. (Remember him?) On Thursday, Kelly took to a podium to tell journalists he felt secure in what he called "the most important job I've ever had."
"I am not quitting today," he told reporters. "... I don't think I am being fired today. I'm not so frustrated in this job that I am thinking of leaving."
Licensing journalists? Trump's First Amendment gripe makes waves
“If you’re OK licensing my Second Amendment right, what’s wrong with licensing your First Amendment right?” said Jim Lucas, a Republican representative from Seymour. His proposal would require journalists to be fingerprinted and pay a $75 lifetime fee.
Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska reminded Trump that his apparent threat to the press threatened the Constitution, too: "Are you tonight recanting the oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect and defend the First Amendment?"
What the health: Trump signs executive order to unravel Obamacare
Trump signed an executive order on Thursday that lets insurers sell short-term plans that don't meet Obamacare requirements. He claims it will lower Americans' health insurance costs by letting more consumers buy coverage across state lines, but they could also end up in shakier plans lacking coverage requirements and protections others have. Read a full analysis of the order.
Elsewhere in politics
- Bernie is a top speaker at Women's Convention. Why tho?
- Rick Perry: I need private planes to do my job
- Obama will return to the campaign trail
- Paul Ryan, House Grinch, may keep lawmakers over Christmas