Cuomo Offers to Help Hurricane Maria Victims Sue Trump

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is up for reelection this year and is doing his best to shore up his support among his core constituencies. And for Democrats in New York, that means the Puerto Rican community.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to help families sue Trump over Hurricane Maria response

Cuomo went to a largely Puerto Rican church on Sunday and told the congregation that he was going to provide help to families to sue President Donald Trump and his administration. The basis of the lawsuits that Cuomo was suggesting would be the failure of the federal government to provide adequate help to the millions of people affected by Hurricane Maria last year.

The governor said that the Trump administration has violated Puerto Ricans’ rights of equal protection under the law, as provided in the U.S. Constitution.

Cuomo also said that the state of New York is committed to helping Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico rebuild their homes and businesses after the terrible storm destroyed much of the island in September 2017.

Although not a state, Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, and citizens of Puerto Rico are also citizens of the United States. They cannot vote in U.S. elections unless they move to the mainland U.S., at which time they are legally able to register to vote in their new states of residence. After the devastation of Maria, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans relocated to the mainland, primarily to the states of New York and Florida.

“President Trump never tried to help Puerto Rico. Florida got attention, Texas got attention, and Puerto Rico got the short end of the stick. That is not just wrong and unethical and despicable, it is also illegal,” Cuomo emphasized on Sunday at the Heavenly Vision Christian Center in the Bronx.

Cuomo issued a press statement in which he set forth five problems with the U.S. government’s response to and treatment of citizens in the wake Hurricane Maria.

The five biggest issues listed by Cuomo are:

  1. A three week wait for help from federal agencies,
  2. A Lack of adequate funding for storm relief,
  3. A Lack of food and water for the citizens harmed by the storm,
  4. Very Sparse resources available to help victims, and
  5. Levels of relief that were not acceptable.

“We’re going to hold ‘KingTrump to the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution said equal protection under the law. Puerto Rico did not receive equal protection under the law,” Cuomo said. “New York is standing with Puerto Rico the way we said we would. We are going to fight back and we’re going to show this president that the law is the law.”

In Cuomo’s remarks and press release he did not provide any more details about his plan.

Cuomo, who is a seeking a third term as governor, also criticized Trump‘s border wall proposal and his reaction to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year.

“Somebody has to stand up to this president. He is a bully,” Cuomo said.

Last week a report was released saying that Hurricane Maria is now considered the most deadly U.S. natural disaster in the last century. Puerto Rico‘s government requested an independent review by George Washington University, which found Maria killed an estimated 2,975 people – nearly 50 times the previously announced official death toll of 64.