GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico. - During a briefing with officials in Puerto Rico Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the U.S. territory has “thrown our budget a little out of whack,” and told officials they should be “proud” that the death toll wasn’t as high as Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Trump said the storm damage in Puerto Rico wasn’t “a real catastrophe like Katrina” because the confirmed death toll is 16 so far, compared to the thousands who perished in Hurricane Katrina, Trump said
Here's Trump comparing the death count in Puerto Rico to the death count in a "real catastrophe like Katrina" pic.twitter.com/lNCz4wYvMn— Tasneem N (@TasneemN) October 3, 2017
Trump also criticized local officials for being unprepared, while praising the federal response.
The trip comes amid harsh criticism against Trump and his administration for what many have said was a slow response to the disaster.
Beyond disapproval about the timeline of his Puerto Rico trip, several pundits and other have taken aim at the president’s visit to the devastated country, with many calling his behavior and comments during the briefing “inappropriate” and “ridiculous.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke to a crowd of reporters Tuesday about Trump’s visit, saying, “Mr. President, enough. Stop blaming Puerto Rico for the storm that devastated their shores, and roll up your sleeves and get the recovery on track. That’s your job as president.”
Schumer to Trump: "Stop blaming Puerto Rico...roll up your sleeves and get the recovery on track. That's your job." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/Q12RQEw0hS— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 3, 2017
Trump went to Puerto Rico and said they didn’t have "a real catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina.”— Touré (@Toure) October 3, 2017
Trump’s Katrina is his own mouth.
"Flashlights. you don't need 'em anymore," Trump says as he hands out supplies in Puerto Rico. 95% of the island is still without power.— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) October 3, 2017
He's a child. Then later on Trump cracked jokes about Puerto Rico's debt and tossed rolls of paper towels into the crowd like basketballs. https://t.co/K3V3F65Xkb— Marc Lombardi (@marclombardi) October 3, 2017
Pretty stunning moment: blaming Puerto Rico storm recovery for the deficit? Also thanked every politician in sight except San Juan Mayor https://t.co/jeZJGunUo4— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) October 3, 2017
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who criticized Trump for a slow response to send aid, also said in an interview with CNN that Trump sometimes “spouts” comments “that really hurt the people of Puerto Rico.”
But Cruz later tweeted that she believes the trip helped the White House staff understand the situation in Puerto Rico.
Meeting with WH staff productive. They REALLY understood the disconnect between how things are supposed to happen and how they really happen— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) October 3, 2017
Hopefully the newly open channels of communication with WH staff will put in motion what is needed to accomplish our goal: save lives.— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) October 3, 2017
According to the New York Times, more than 50 of Puerto Rico’s roughly 65 hospitals are running on generators as much of the island territory continues without basic amenities and power.
And reports by FEMA found only 50 percent of Puerto Rico currently has access to clean drinking water.
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