On CNN, Congresswoman Velazquez—who is also the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the House—expressed great concern for the future of Puerto Rico.
“This is one Superfund site we are aware, but there are 14 Superfund sites in Puerto Rico,” Velazquez told host Kate Bolduan. “So, the extent of the damage, this could become another Flint where so many children, old people—regular people in Puerto Rico could get affected.”
She continued, “We’re talking about contaminants, toxins, material, oil that are in this water.”
“And I’m really very concerned for this to happen in America, it’s just heartbreaking,” Velazquez added.
Bolduan goes on to ask Velazquez about her response to one of President Trump’s tweets saying federal first responders cannot stay in Puerto Rico forever.
“We shed blood to defend the freedoms that every American in this country enjoys,” Velazquez boldly states. “So to kick fellow citizens when they are down is shameful.”
When asked why Trump’s message was so upsetting, Velazquez responded, “It was outrageous. It was an insult. It shows the inability of this president to understand the solemn duty of a president is to protect the citizens of our country. And that Puerto Ricans are fellow citizens. They are not colonial subjects.”
Trump did provide a follow-up message with a very different tone. But it was too late, according to Velazquez.
“What we need is to correct the fact that we were not prepared,” the Democratic congresswoman said. “The Federal government did not have a meaningful, advanced response knowing that a category 5 was on its track to hit Puerto Rico, knowing that the infrastructure of Puerto Rico before the hurricane was vulnerable.”
Bolduan then moves on to discuss the now infamous Trump-Russia probe, asking if there is evidence of collusion Congress should act.
Velazquez simple replied, “Well, if the evidence shows that the facts should call for an impeachment, I’ll be the first one to support it.”
“I want the president to do right by the American people,” she added.
Bolduan later asked the congresswoman if she believed Trump would get a chance to fix the mess that has been created.
“Well, he needs to do it. He needs—at least in the case of Puerto Rico, people are dying. Children are dying. So this is the matter of life and death for American citizens,” Velazquez said. “And by just tweeting out and telling the people of Puerto Rico, when you’re down that we’re going to pull out of Puerto Rico, the resources that they deserve, it just immorally—that is not the values that have made this country great.”