Puerto Rico's population of 3.4 million American citizens is in the throes of a humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which killed 16 people and ravaged the islands electricity grid.
"The electric power grid in Puerto Rico is totally shot".
"Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help".
Republicans and Democrats had pushed Trump to waive the Jones Act, a little-known federal law that prohibits foreign-flagged ships from shuttling goods between USA ports. "I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying", Cruz said. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the reversal in a tweet.
Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Gregory Moore said in a statement earlier this week, which came before Trump's waiver, that "the situation in Puerto Rico is much different" than it was when the storms hit Texas, Louisiana and Florida.
Emergency medicine physician Dr. Robert Fuller, who works at the University of CT and International Medical Corp, arrived in Puerto Rico to help out.
Government officials are also being criticized by Puerto Rican authorities after acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke declared that the federal response to the damage on the island is a "good news story".
On Friday afternoon, an emotional Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, gave a passionate press conference in which she ripped the federal US response to Hurricane Maria and made a plea for help.
Trump also says the mayor was "very complimentary only a few days ago", but "has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump". They say Puerto Ricans, who depend on imports, absorb extra shipping costs for items that could be shipped directly from American ports to Puerto Rico with readily available foreign crews, but instead must be delivered by USA flagged vessels.