‘This Is Not The Finest Hour Of The United States Government’: Sen. Bill Nelson | All In | MSNBC

‘This Is Not The Finest Hour Of The United States Government’: Sen. Bill Nelson | All In | MSNBC


>>>STOPPING TO TALK TO REPORTERS ON HIS WAY TO HIS GOLF RESORT IN NEW JERSEY, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SAID THIS ABOUT THE DEATH TOLL IN PUERTO RICO.>>THE LOSS OF LIFE IS ALWAYS TRAGIC, BUT IT’S BEEN INCREDIBLE, THE RESULTS THAT WE’VE HAD WITH RESPECT TO LOSS OF LIFE. PEOPLE CAN’T BELIEVE HOW SUCCESSFUL THAT HAS BEEN RELATIVELY SPEAKING.>>SO FAR, AT LEAST 16 PEOPLE ARE CONFIRMED DEAD IN PUERTO RICO AS A RESULT OF THE HURRICANE, BUT IT’S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE THAT THAT NUMBER IS ALMOST CERTAINLY INCOMPLETE. EXPECTED TO RISE AS RECOVERY EFFORT CONTINUES. WHICH IS PERHAPS WHY THE MAYOR OF SAN JUAN PAINTED A VERY DIFFERENT PICTURE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE GROUND.>>WE ARE DYING HERE. FEMA ASKS FOR DOCUMENTATION. I THINK WE’VE GIVEN THEM ENOUGH DOCUMENTATION. AND THEY HAVE THE GALL THIS MORNING, LOOK AT THIS, LOOK AT THIS, THEY THINK THAT WEIGHS ENOUGH? THEY HAVE THE GALL THIS MORNING OF ASKING ME, WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES, MAYOR? I AM BEGGING. BEGGING ANYONE THAT CAN HEAR US TO SAVE US FROM DYING. IF WE DON’T GET THE FOOD AND WATER INTO PEOPLE’S HANDS, WHAT WE ARE GOING TO SEE IS SOMETHING CLOSE TO A GENOCIDE. THE WORLD WILL SEE HOW WE ARE TREATED, NOT AS SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS, BUT AS ANIMALS THAT CAN BE DISPOSED OF.>>SHE’LL BE ON LATER TONIGHT. JOINING ME NOW, DEMOCRAT FROM FLORIDA, WHO HAS URGED THE PRESIDENT TO LEVERAGE ALL AVAILABLE RESOURCES TO HELP THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO. HE JOINS ME NOW. SENATOR, YOU AND MARCO RUBIO, WHO ALSO REPRESENTS FLORIDA, HAVE BEEN SORT OF SOME OF THE LOUDEST VOICES ON THIS. DO YOU THINK THE RESPONSE HAS BEEN ADEQUATE?>>IN A WORD, NO. AND THE MAYOR’S PLEA PRETTY MUCH SAYS IT ALL. I DO THINK SINCE THEY BROUGHT IN LAST NIGHT A THREE-STAR GENERAL, THAT WHAT MARCO AND I HAVE BEEN CALLING FOR IS THE MILITARY. YOU’VE GOT ALL OF THE FOOD, FUEL, WATER, MEDICAL SUPPLIES, THEY’RE IN THE PORTS. BUT THEY CAN’T GET OUT INTO THE INTERIOR. AND THAT’S WHAT THE U.S. MILITARY IS TRAINED FOR. THEY’RE TRAINED FOR THESE LONG LOGISTICAL LINES OF GETTING THINGS WHERE THEY NEED TO BE. SO AS I QUIZ THE THREE-STAR GENERAL THIS MORNING, I ASK HIM, WHAT’S COMING IN? HELICOPTER PARTS ARE COMING IN. THEY’VE GOT TRUCK PARTS COMING IN. THEY’VE GOT AN ARMY, A BATTALION, THAT CAN MOVE THINGS. THAT’S COMING IN. BUT THE COMFORT SHIP IS GOING TO BE ANOTHER FIVE DAYS BEFORE IT GETS THERE. IF ALL OF THOSE TROOPS GET IN, BUT HOW LONG IS IT GOING TO TAKE THEM TO GET IN? THIS IS NOT THE FINEST HOUR OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WAITING NINE DAYS BEFORE YOU GET COMMAND AND CONTROL WITH THE U.S. MILITARY THERE. REMEMBER GENERAL ONORAY, THE THREE-STAR, IT TOOK HIM GETTING INTO KATRINA, NEW ORLEANS, AND FINALLY GOT THINGS MOVING.>>I HAVE TO SAY, I’VE BEEN IN CONTACT FAIRLY REGULARLY WITH PEOPLE ON THE ISLAND, AND WHAT THEIR DISPATCHERS SAY TO ME, IT’S BEEN A VERY SLOW LINE. AND PARTICULARLY AREAS OUTSIDE SAN JUAN. NO POWER, NO COMMUNICATION, NO DRINKING WATER. THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE, HAF THE ISLAND DOESN’T HAVE DRINKING WATER, YOU DON’T HAVE FUEL. I GUESS THE QUESTION S HOW LONG CAN PEOPLE BE EXPECTED TO WAIT FOR — AMERICANS BE EXPECTED TO WAIT FOR THESE VITAL NECESSITIES?>>AMERICANS WAITING FOR VITAL NECESSITIES FROM AMERICANS, THAT’S WHAT’S SO FRUSTRATING ABOUT IT. I DO BELIEVE AND MY ESSENCE ACROSS EXAMINATION OF THE GENERAL BY TELEPHONE THIS MORNING, THAT HE UNDERSTANDS WHAT HE’S GOT TO DO, BUT HE’S GOT TO GET ALL OF THOSE TROOPS IN TO HELP HIM MOVE THOSE THINGS INTO THE OTHER PARTS OF THE ISLAND.>>THE PRESIDENT — THE CONTEXT HERE IS THAT PUERTO RICO IS DEEPLY IN DEBT, IT DID NOT HAVE THE STATUTORY ABILITY TO DECLARE BANKRUPTCY. THERE WAS A LAW WHICH SET UP AUSTERITY REGIME THERE. IT WILL NEED BILLIONS AND BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. ONE PERSON ON THE GROUND SAID CLOSE TO SOCIETAL COLLAPSE. ARE YOU CONFIDENT THAT WHILE THE PRESIDENT’S TALKING ABOUT HOW TO WORK OUT HOW TO PAY FOR ITS DEBTS THAT, PUERTO RICO IS NOT GOING TO BE BEGGING ESSENTIALLY FOR THE MONEY IT NEEDS TO REBUILD?>>WELL, IN ESSENCE, AT THE END OF THE DAY, I BELIEVE PUERTO RICO WILL GET THE MONEY. BUT, CHRIS, YOU KNOW THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE CONGRESS THAT THEY WON’T EVEN INCREASE THE DEBT CEILING SO WE CAN PAY OUR BILLS. I MEAN, THERE’S THIS KIND OF MENTALITY. SO WITH THE BILLS MOUNTING IN TEXAS, IN FLORIDA, THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, AND NOW PUERTO RICO, I THINK IT’S GONNA BE A BIG BILL. AND I THINK IT’S GONNA BE FOR THE REAL, REAL LONG-TERM IN PUERTO RICO. WE’RE SEEING A UTILITY, ELECTRICAL SYSTEM THAT’S BEEN TOTALLY DESTROYED. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO START THINKING CREATIVELY, INSTEAD OF NECESSARILY STRINGING WIRES, MAYBE WE OUGHT TO START PUTTING SOLAR PANELS IN SOME OF THESE REMOTE VILLAGES IN SMALL TOWNS, SO THAT THEY WOULD HAVE SOME SELF-SUSTAINING IN THE FUTURE.>>PUERTO RICO IS — HAS AN OUTSTANDING DEBT LARGELY OWNED BY BONDHOLDERS AND TRADED BY HEDGE FUNDS IN THE DISTRESSED DEBT MARKET, I THINK IT’S AROUND $70 BILLION. WILL THERE BE VOICES IN CONGRESS CALLING FOR SOME CANCELLATION OR FORGIVENESS OF SOME OF THAT DEBT?>>THIS VOICE HAS ALREADY STARTED THAT, BY SAYING EARLIER THIS MORNING THAT THEY OUGHT BE CUTTING SOME SLACK ON THEIR DEBT PAYMENTS. PROMESA, THE BOARD THAT WAS SET UP TO OVERSEE THE FINANCES, THEY ARE FIRST IN LINE FOR ALL THE DEBTS, BUT WITH THIS TRAGIC, HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, THE BONDHOLDERS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE SOME GIVE IN THIS SITUATION.>>YOU WOULD THINK SO. THEY REGIME IS AN AUSTERITY REGIME AND THIS IS NOT AN AUSTERITY TIME FOR THE PEOPLE

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