President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday reiterated that the U.S. was working to bring home Americans stranded in countries like Peru and Honduras, but Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said more should be done.  

The U.S. Embassy in Peru tweeted on Monday night that an additional 259 U.S. citizens had left the country, bringing the total to almost 800 that have so far have been able to get out.

Trump also said Monday evening, “Overnight, we successfully brought home 103 American citizens after they had been stranded for 10 days in Brazil, following a cruise.”

Pompeo tweeted on Monday, “Americans traveling abroad face unprecedented challenges. The @StateDept is responding to this challenge to get all #AmericansHome safely.” 

Pompeo had tweeted Sunday that the department “is working around the clock to identify transportation options for U.S. citizens stranded by the #COVID19 crisis and seeking to return home.” 

Trump said in a White House briefing Sunday, “We’re working very hard -- long -- on getting a young group of people out of Peru. We’ve removed some, and the rest are being removed with the cooperation of the Peruvian government.  And we’re also dealing with Honduras on getting some people out that got caught up.”

Sen. Menendez called on the Trump administration to do more, urging it to charter commercial flights to evacuate American citizens abroad. He asked the president to direct the Department of Defense to make U.S. military aircraft available for the evacuation and said there are “tens of thousands of Americans stranded abroad.”

“With the State Department having issued a level 4 travel advisory, commercial airlines canceling numerous flights and many countries now imposing travel restrictions and border closures, tens of thousands of American citizens are stranded, unable to return to the United States without the direct intervention of their government,” he wrote. “While I agree in theory that commercial flight options are preferable for all citizens wishing to return, as your administration has argued, that is not a feasible solution as there are insufficient commercial flights available due to the current crisis, especially in countries that have closed their borders.

“No American should ever have to worry that they might be abandoned abroad by our government,” Menendez added. “As we work together to confront this unprecedented pandemic, we must provide Americans overseas the support that they need.”

He also said that at a time when U.S. commercial carriers are “seeking unprecedented financial assistance from US taxpayers” and much of their fleet is idle, he expects that U.S. airlines would be “willing and able to step into the breach and work with the Department of State to provide the necessary support to bring American citizens home.”


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