House Democrats to Investigate Administration's Response to Hurricane Maria
Congressional Democrats say they are reviving their investigation into the Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria.
The September 2017 storm tore through the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, killing about 3,000 people on Puerto Rico and leaving behind unprecedented destruction.
Some parts of the U.S. territory still lack basic services, including running water and electricity.
The House Oversight Committee, led by Democrat Elijah Cummings, sent letters Monday to the White House, Health and Human Services, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, demanding records on the government's response to the storm.
"For the past two years, the White House has refused to produce to the committee any documents regarding the Trump administration's abominable response," the letter says.
It also points out that House Republicans have "refused" to join their Democratic colleagues in asking for records.
Critics say President Donald Trump's reaction to Hurricane Maria has been callous and critical of the Puerto Rican government for what he deems its lack of appreciation.
He claimed in a Monday tweet that Congress has given Puerto Rico $91 billion in hurricane relief. He says Democrats are threatening to hold up a disaster relief bill to help Midwestern states recover from spring floods unless Puerto Rico gets more money.
But some administration officials say Puerto Rico has gotten just $41 billion in storm relief and only about $11 billion has been spent so far.
Still, the president had previously tweeted that "Donald J. Trump is the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico."
A White House spokesman said Monday the administration is committed to the complete recovery of Puerto Rico.
Red Sox players take stand
Meanwhile, when Trump hosts baseball's world champion Boston Red Sox at the White House on Thursday, manager Alex Cora and several players will not be there.
Cora says he does not feel right going to Washington when his native Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria.
"I've used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten, and my absence is no different. As such, at this moment, I don't feel comfortable celebrating in the White House," he said in a statement.
At least five other Red Sox players are also skipping Thursday's reception, including Puerto Rican catcher Christian Vazquez.
Champion sports teams visiting the White House and exchanging balls and jerseys with the president has been a long Washington tradition.
But a number of athletes from college and professional teams have declined the invitation from the Trump White House because of disagreements with some of the president's policies.