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October 12, 2017

Pa. lawmaker calls response to Puerto Rico a 'success story' during heated CNN interview

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and CNN's Chris Cuomo entered a heated back-and-forth on air Thursday following remarks from President Donald Trump that the government cannot help Puerto Rico in its hurricane relief efforts "forever."

Cuomo, host of CNN's "New Day," pressed Perry on the timing of Trump's Twitter comments while Perry defended the work that FEMA and military personnel have been doing.

Perry said that Trump most likely meant that FEMA has a "finite mission and a finite amount of time."

" ... at some point, it’s up to Puerto Rico and the local governance and government to get themselves out of this circumstance and help their people," he added.

"Nobody's suggesting that [FEMA] would be there forever; it just seems odd to talk about not having them there forever when the place is in the throes of crisis," Cuomo said. "This is not something we've ever heard about Florida or Texas or other places that are in a state of distress."

Cuomo continued to press Perry and questioned how he could call the efforts a "success story" when "there are people starving" in Puerto Rico, to which Perry replied that they're "not starving."

“Mr. Cuomo, you’re simply just making this stuff up,” Perry said. He also asked Cuomo to "quantify" his statement.

"You can't just make these claims and not put any metrics to it," Perry said. "Who is without, for how long? Who?"

Power has been restored to about 12 percent of customers in Puerto Rico, according to FEMA, after Hurricane Maria slammed the island last month. Forty-five people have died as a result of the storm. 

Watch the interview below: