Trump Describes His Puerto Rico Hurricane Response as an ‘Unsung Success’

17 September, 2018, 13:43 | Author: Donnie King
  • Trump's claim of success in Puerto Rico hurricane response derided

A George Washington University study in July found that 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rossello, seized on Trump's use of the word "successful" and said in a statement at the time: "No relationship between a colony and the federal government can ever be called "successful" because Puerto Ricans lack certain inalienable rights enjoyed by our fellow Americans in the states".

Trump's comments came as he sought to reassure Americans about his administration's preparedness for Hurricane Florence, which is bearing down on the Carolinas and gaining in intensity.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico", he tweeted. The General Services Administration Administrator for Puerto Rico, Ottmar Chávez, told CBS News that his agency had claimed excess water bottles for delivery from FEMA back in May, but only became aware of the bottles on Tuesday, and he now wants to return them to the agency following complaints about the water's taste and smell.

However, Rossello's administration has not made public a government emergency response plan that officials revised after Hurricane Maria.

"Casualties don't make a person look bad", House Speaker Paul Ryan said.

"Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000." he said, going on to claim: "This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico". A spokesman for former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who won the Florida GOP primary for governor with Trump's support, said he did not agree with Trump's tweets. The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching. And just as Katrina was a smear on the Bush presidency, Maria will live in infamy as a stain on Trump's.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz called the president's latest comments "delusional, paranoid and unhinged from any sense of reality".

The problems in Puerto Rico during the 2017 hurricane season reflected a complicated set of circumstances.

Spokesman Hogan Gidley said: "As the president said, every death from Hurricane Maria is a horror". Trump dismissed the findings Thursday, tweeting: "If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list".

"Only Donald Trump would try to make the deaths of almost 3,000 Americans into a story about himself and his political fortunes", he said.

Puerto Rico's government is run by the New Progressive party, a pro-statehood, Puerto Rico-only party. Independent estimates place the number at 1,270 and 5,740.

She continued, "But the President continues to refuse to acknowledge his responsibility, and the problem is that if he didn't acknowledge it in Puerto Rico, God bless the people of SC and the people of North Carolina".

The president also sent two tweets - one featuring a video message - warning people of the danger of Hurricane Florence as it approaches the East Coast, and assuring residents that emergency responders are prepared.

But Trump suggested Friday that it was questionable that the Puerto Rican government commissioned the study from an outside group.

Trump maintained as recently as Tuesday that his response to the storm was an "incredible unsung success".


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