Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is visiting Puerto Rico tomorrow to meet with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and other officials as thousands of Puerto Ricans settle in Florida after Hurricane Maria severely damaged the U.S. territory.
Nelson is traveling with Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, the only Puerto Rican in Congress from Florida, who predicted that Puerto Ricans who are new to Florida will create political pressure for Florida Republicans in 2018 because of President Donald Trump's inadequate disaster response and a GOP-led tax bill that Rosselló and other Puerto Rican politicians vehemently oppose.
Interestingly, Nelson's office cited media reports that more than 1,000 people may have died due to Maria's effects instead of the official tally of about 60 deaths. Puerto Rico's government said it will review the death toll after the Center for Investigative Journalism and the New York Times published accounts that deaths in Puerto Rico spiked in 2017 after Hurricane Maria made landfall compared to the same time in 2016.
Nelson first visited Puerto Rico in mid-October, about three weeks after Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was among the first elected officials to visit Puerto Rico after the storm and his office sent staffers to the island, though Rosselló criticized him by name for ultimately supporting the GOP-led tax bill that became law last week.