Chicagoans help with relief efforts as Trump says FEMA can't stay in Puerto Rico forever

Three weeks after Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, much of the island is still a mess and still in the dark.

Chicagoans are helping Puerto Ricans recover, but President Trump had a tough message for storm victims, basically telling them don't get used to federal aid.

Morris Bowie, a retired Chicago firefighter, is headed for Puerto Rico Friday as an American Red Cross volunteer. He's not yet sure just what he'll be doing, but his late mother was Puerto Rican and he wants to contribute.

“I've always had a deep connection with Puerto Rico, culturally, the music, the food, the people,” Bowie said.

Bowie is heading to the devastated island as President Trump hints that some federal relief workers will be pulled out. The President tweeted, "We cannot keep FEMA, the military and the first responders, who have been amazing under the most difficult circumstances, in Puerto Rico forever."

Shortly after the President's words, Congressman Luis Guiterrez responded from the floor of the House.

“How long do we have to stay in Puerto Rico Mr. President? Until every Puerto Rican’s name is taken off the Vietnam memorial wall or erased from the records of the Korean War, Afghanistan and Iraq, as long as it takes! They gave their lives and died,” Gutiérrez said.

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico condemned the president, calling him the" hater in chief," and local Puerto Rican leaders echoed that criticism.

“It seems to me that this president lives in la-la land. The reason that I’m saying this is that he should know that FEMA has not been able to do much work at all in Puerto Rico,” said Alderman Roberto Maldonado.

“It obviously demonstrates the sort of disdainfulness and contempt that this president has for the Puerto Rican people,” said Jose Lopez, executive director at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center.

So far, Hurricane Maria has been blamed for 45 deaths and 85 percent of the island is still without power. 

Donations to the Red Cross for the Puerto Rican relief effort can be made by going to red, or by calling 1-800 Red Cross.