“I feel we did a unbelievable job in Puerto Rico,” Trump instructed CNN’s Jim Acosta throughout an alternate with reporters on the White Home. “We’re nonetheless serving to Puerto Rico.”
It was an optimistic accounting of his administration’s dealing with of the pure catastrophe, which left a lot of the US territory with out energy for weeks and resulted in hundreds of deaths.
The examine accounted for Puerto Ricans who succumbed to the stifling warmth and different after-effects of the storm and weren’t beforehand counted in official figures.
Trump has trumpeted his dealing with of the storm’s aftermath, together with saying within the days afterward the storm had resulted in a comparatively small variety of deaths in comparison with a “actual disaster like Katrina.” Hurricane Katrina, which devastated elements of Louisiana in 2005, killed roughly 1,200.
He additionally awarded himself a “10 out of 10” on catastrophe restoration efforts throughout an Oval Workplace assembly final yr with Puerto Rico’s governor.
“Did we do an ideal job?” he requested his visitor.
Via all of it, Trump has maintained that Puerto Rico’s languishing infrastructure and geography hampered efforts. He mentioned on Wednesday an outdated electrical grid and the territory’s standing as an island continued to the problem.
“Puerto Rico was really tougher due to the very fact it was an island,” he mentioned. “It is a lot more durable to get issues on the island.”
“The administration killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect. The Trump administration led us to consider they had been serving to once they weren’t as much as par, they usually did not enable different nations to assist us,” Yulín Cruz mentioned on CNN Wednesday, later including, “Disgrace on President Trump. Disgrace on President Trump for not even as soon as, not even yesterday, simply saying, ‘Look, I grieve with the folks of Puerto Rico.'”
Trump didn’t reply on to his critics Wednesday, as a substitute saying he hoped the island would not endure an analogous destiny this yr.
“I solely hope they do not get hit once more as a result of they had been hit by two in a row,” Trump mentioned.
Trump’s feedback had been paying homage to former President George W. Bush’s feedback days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, when Bush praised his FEMA director Michael Brown throughout his first go to to the area affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“Brownie, you are doing a heck of a job,” Bush mentioned then.
Trump’s feedback on Wednesday weren’t the primary time he has praised the federal response in Puerto Rico. And whereas the loss of life toll was not recognized when he voiced a few of his earlier reward, they did come as catastrophe aid consultants and native officers sounded the alarm in regards to the gradual tempo of the federal response.
“Each loss of life is a horror — however if you happen to have a look at an actual disaster, like Katrina, and also you have a look at the great tons of and tons of and tons of of those that died, and also you have a look at what occurred right here with, actually, a storm that was simply completely overpowering — no one has ever seen something like this,” Trump mentioned in Puerto Rico lower than two weeks after Maria struck. “Everyone round this desk and everyone watching can actually be very pleased with what’s taken place in Puerto Rico.”
Trump not solely repeatedly praised the federal response, however he additionally struck out on the information media and critics who highlighted the gradual tempo of a number of the restoration efforts and the dire situations that a lot of the island continued to face for weeks and months after the hurricane made landfall.
Ten days after the hurricane made landfall, Trump lambasted information reviews in regards to the troubled scenario in Puerto Rico in a collection of tweets.
“Regardless of the Faux Information Media at the side of the Dems, a tremendous job is being performed in Puerto Rico,” Trump tweeted. “The Faux Information Networks are working additional time in Puerto Rico doing their finest to take the spirit away from our troopers and first R’s. Disgrace!”
In one other tweet, he lashed out at San Juan’s mayor, who had taken to the airwaves to lift alarm in regards to the gradual tempo of restoration efforts.
“Such poor management skill by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who will not be in a position to get their staff to assist,” he tweeted.