While warning that Puerto Rico faces a significant logistical challenge in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday called for the United States military to be put in charge of the recovery efforts.
"The supply chain, the logistical chain in Puerto Rico is broken, it's not just broken, it is shattered," Rubio said at a news conference Thursday.
Rubio said there is a significant amount of resources sitting in containers at the Port of San Juan but there are communication and transportation issues that are preventing it from being distributed.
"You could always argue that more aid needs to get there but I can tell you with certainty that even if today we were able to deliver to Puerto Rico the historic amount of aid in a short period of time, our ability to get that aid from San Juan to any other place on the island or some of the smaller islands is significantly diminished if not non-existent," Rubio said. "The reality is the local authorities have simply been overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the event."
Rubio said that the only solution would be to temporarily put the military in charge of the logistical response, and said he has urged President Donald Trump to make that decision.
"The only dynamic that will shift this is a significant surge or uptick in the military presence," Rubio said. "It is the only organization quite frankly in the world that is able to appear on scene and deal with these logistical challenges, this is what they're trained to do on the battlefield and this is most certainly what they're capable of doing."
Fellow Florida Sen. Bill Nelson echoed Rubio's comments in a statement Thursday.
"There is a crisis in Puerto Rico where food, fuel, water and medicine is sitting at the docks and not getting out to the remote parts of the island. The situation calls for an immediate response by the U.S. military to provide security and distribution to these remote areas," Nelson said. "As was said after Hurricane Andrew: 'Where the hell is the cavalry?'"
Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Rick Scott traveled to Puerto Rico Thursday, where he met with Gov. Ricardo Rossello and delivered some supplies.