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Julian Castro visits Puerto Rico in bid for presidency

Monday, January 14, 2019

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — U.S. presidential candidate Julian Castro joined dozens of high-profile Latinos in Puerto Rico today to talk about mobilizing voters ahead of the 2020 elections and increasing Latino political representation to take on President Donald Trump.

The group condemned Trump's plan to build a border wall, and Castro also criticized Trump for his response to Hurricane Maria, which hit the U.S. territory in September 2017 and is estimated to have caused more than $100 billion in damage.

"The administration failed to prepare for the hurricane, it failed to coordinate a swift response and has failed in the recovery process as well," Castro said. "What's worse, ... the president ... has talked about possibly taking money that had been earmarked for Puerto Rico recovery and instead investing that in a border wall. To do so is completely objectionable, immoral and should never happen."

Castro spoke at the Latino Political Summit in the capital of San Juan, the third such summit organized by the Latino Victory Fund, a political action committee based in Washington, D.C. More than 20 federal lawmakers attended Monday's summit, attracting Trump's notice.

"A lot of the Democrats were in Puerto Rico celebrating something. I don't know, maybe they're celebrating the shutdown," Trump said.

The visitors didn't include Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Asked about Trump's comment, Castro said the lawmakers were doing "substantive work."