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Story highlights

Scott Perry mirrored the President's concern over demands from Puerto Rico

President Donald Trump has voiced concern over the island's financial crisis

(CNN) —  

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, believes the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria’s destruction in Puerto Rico is a “success story,” defending President Donald Trump at a time when his leadership during the crisis has been criticized.

“It’s good news no matter how it came about, and hopefully we can learn more about the process and let people know what the government did,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo during a heated exchange on “New Day.”

Perry also echoed the President’s statement earlier Thursday that federal assistance can’t stay in the island “forever.”

“I think the point the President is making is that FEMA has a finite mission and a finite amount of time to be there,” he said, adding, “At some point, it’s up to Puerto Rico to get themselves out of this situation and help their people.”

Although authorities say more than 80% of the island is still without power and nearly a third are without water, the Pennsylvania Republican disputed claims that federal response has been inadequate.

“We are getting reports every day that people are getting food and water and their needs are being serviced and it’s been devastated, and these things don’t happen overnight and it really doesn’t happen overnight when it’s been neglected for years,” he added.

Perry’s response comes after the President suggested Thursday morning that Puerto Rico is going to have to shoulder more responsibility for recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria, saying the federal government’s emergency responders can’t stay there “forever.” He also blamed the beleaguered island for a financial crisis “largely of their own making” and infrastructure that was a “disaster” before the hurricane.