On Friday Senator Sanders visited Puerto Rico to see the destruction of Hurricane Maria first hand, and to discuss immediate needs with citizens and local government officials. One month after the devastating storm, one million people are still without running water, and three million are without electricity. Sanders stated in a press conference with the mayor of San Juan, “The reason I am here today is to listen and to hear from the people of Puerto Rico about how we address the immediate set of crises that the island faces short-term.”

Senator Sanders meets with Governor Ricardo Rosselló and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz

Senator Sanders met with Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló at the international airport of Isla Verde and discussed Puerto Rico’s destroyed infrastructure as well as the basic necessities needed such as electricity, water, and telecommunications.

The governor says there are $95 billion in damages.

The governor is also asking the power authority to cancel the contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings, an inexperienced two2-man energy company from Montana. Whitefish Energy recently received a $300 million rebuilding contract from the government under questionable circumstances. Sanders is pushing to nullify the contract.

Mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulín Cruz then showed Sanders the devastation around the island, which prompted Sanders to tweet, “The level of destruction in Puerto Rico is unprecedented.” At a press conference with the mayor, Sanders stated, “Puerto Rico is not alone.”

President Trump’s response to the disaster

Mayor Cruz and President Trump have been exchanging words on Twitter.

Trump tweets, “They want everything to be done for them.” Cruz says Trump lives in a “fantasy world” after he gave himself a grade of 10 out of 10 for federal government response. Sanders responded on "CNN State of the Union" by calling the President’s tweets on Puerto Rico “unspeakable”.

Bernie Sanders backs out of the Women’s Convention to visit Puerto Rico

Sanders was slated to speak at the opening of the Women’s Convention in Detroit on Friday, but earlier this month he backed out to plan his trip to Puerto Rico. The Women’s Convention was the inaugural summit from the organizers of the Women’s March. There was some controversy with having a male keynote speaker at the Women’s Convention.

Sanders issued an apology to the organizers and applauded “their historic work in putting together the March in January and all that you have done since.” Sanders wished them a successful conference, according to The Hill. The organizers responded, “We understand his leadership is needed in Puerto Rico and, as always, we deeply appreciate his commitment to communities in need.”

Bernie Sanders develops plan with Elizabeth Warren

The Intercept reported that Sanders is in the early stages of developing a plan for Puerto Rico with Warren and other progressives. It’s a comprehensive plan including debt forgiveness. This plan will define where the party should stand on the issues of aid, debt relief, and governance.

Bernie Sanders reiterated during his trip, Puerto Ricans are “American citizens” and “we have to do everything we can to help them.”