US President Donald Trump threatened to pull the federal government's emergency personnel from storm-battered Puerto Rico and Twitter is furiously slamming him for it. Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane Maria three weeks ago, devastating homes and leaving more than 80% of the US island territory without electricity.
The cash-strapped territory's 3.4 million residents are still struggling with food, clean drinking water and fuel shortages and lack of access to basic services.
Early Thursday morning, Trump said Puerto Rico's massive debt and failing infrastructure have added to their problems.
"'Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making,' says Sharyl Attkisson," Trump wrote in a series of tweets. "A total lack of accountability says the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend."
Attkisson is a conservative television journalist who works for Sinclair Broadcasting.
"We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!" Trump continued.
The president's remarks come after his recent trip to the island territory drew fierce criticism over his controversial remarks and "shameless" throwing of paper towels to an audience of hurricane victims. The Trump administration has also come under fire over its delayed and ineffective response to Puerto Rico as compared to the responses in Texas and Florida.
Trump's latest tweets on Puerto Rico immediately sparked furious outrage and disbelief from Democrats, Puerto Rican officials and social media users with many accusing the president of lacking empathy and treating Americans in Puerto Rico like "second-class citizens".
"Bruh, there's a long way between forever and two weeks," one Twitter user wrote. Another wrote: "Are you pulling @fema out of #Texas and #Florida also? No? If not, you have just proved to the World that you are a #Racist Bastard."
Many people questioned the president's decision to target Puerto Rico as opposed to Texas and Florida, which were also ploughed by hurricanes.
"It is almost as if Puerto Rico deserves this," another chimed.
"Sir, this is an outrageous comment at the worst time," Puerto Rican Senator Eduardo Bhatia said. "Puerto Rico still needs urgent help. Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!"
Journalist Jeff Yang tweeted: "Instead of focusing your efforts on saving 3.5m, you've been golfing, tweeting about the NFL and releasing self-congratulatory videos... If you make good on your threat to pull out FEMA/relief responders, I can only pray the UN or another nation intervenes to save our citizens."
"The Hurricane happened 23 days ago. 90% have no power," actor Larry Murphy tweeted. "This is our 16th year in Afghanistan."
Singer Marc Anthony tweeted: "Mr. President rest assured that you will be held accountable for every AMERICAN life needlessly lost in Puerto Rico because of your tone-deaf, idiotic, callous and disrespectful approach.
"History as a way of remembering. Until our last breath, we will not forget. #RISEUP"