Be proud of low toll, Donald Trump tells hurricane-hit Puerto Rico after his ‘lovely trip’ there
After the US president left, however, Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced that the official toll had risen from 16 to 34.
United States President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday, his first tour to the island since it was hit by Hurricane Maria. However, he downplayed the devastation and said the US territory must be proud that it did not lose more lives to the storm, according to The Washington Post.
The president also complained that Puerto Rico was draining his government’s coffers. “Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you have thrown our budget a little out of whack because we have spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico...,” he said.
Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit the island on September 20. More than two weeks later, officials said that the island might not have electricity for another six to eight months. Ninety percent of homes were flattened by the hurricane, half the population is without drinking water, and more bad weather is expected.
Trump described his visit to the island as lovely and one that he “enjoyed very much”, and focused on his administration’s “unbelievable and incredible” job. He told Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló, “Every death is a horror. But if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with, really, a storm that was just totally overpowering – nobody has ever seen anything like this. What is your death count, as of this moment – 17?”
When Rosselló responded that 16 people had been certified dead, Trump said, “Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together.”After Trump left, however, Rosselló announced that the official toll had gone up to 34.
On October 1, Trump responded to an impassioned plea for help from the San Juan mayor by calling her remarks “fake news”.