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Menendez Trial Takes A Day Off, Senator Checks Damage In Puerto Rico

NEWARK, NJ (CBS) — New Jersey Senior Senator Bob Menendez is taking advantage of a day off at his federal corruption trial in Newark to travel to Puerto Rico to get a personal look at the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Menendez and several colleagues were ready to take a military plane, only to be told by the White House that wouldn’t be possible.

“I would get on a cargo plane,” Menendez told reporters in Newark as he prepared to take two commercial flights to San Juan. “I’ve done that in Iraq. I’ve done it in Afghanistan when things are being taken. I would have sat on a cargo plane to get to Puerto Rico.”

He will meet Friday with the island’s Governor and view some of the damage before returning to New Jersey no later than Saturday, well before his trial resumes on Monday.

The senator continued his criticism of how the Trump Administration has responded to the hurricane in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

“This may very well be President Trump’s Katrina,” Menendez added, “because if you knew it’s an island in a very big ocean, and you knew two major hurricanes buffeted it and one directly squarely on, a category 5, you should have had all of your command and control being able to get ready to deliver what you knew you had to deliver.”

Not only are things like water, food, and gas in short supply. So apparently is law enforcement, with 70 percent of the police not on duty. Menendez would like to know why.

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