Trump says Puerto storm response ‘unappreciated’

Charlene Craig
September 13, 2018

President Donald Trump heaped lavish praise Tuesday on his own administration's response to Hurricane Maria, a devastating storm that left almost 3,000 people dead and residents of Puerto Rico without power for months.

During a Hot Topics discussion of how Donald Trump handled the crisis in Puerto Rico after the president admitted that his administration's work in Puerto Rico was not appreciated, panelist and lawyer Sunny Hostin stated that the president and his government allowed people to die.

"As time went by it did not go up by much", Trump wrote. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", he said in a tweet Thursday morning as Carolinians prepared to be pummeled by Hurricane Florence.

A sweeping report from George Washington University released last month estimated there were 2,975 "excess deaths" in the six months after the storm made landfall in Puerto Rico in September 2017.

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Trump said Tuesday, "I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful".

So, how was the count from Puerto Rico actually obtained?

The storm, which is poised to affect millions this week in the southeastern US, is "expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall" to North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, and parts of the Mid-Atlantic states, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosello said in a statement this week that Maria was "the worst natural disaster in our modern history". "The problem with Puerto Rico is their electric grid and their electric generating plant was dead before the storms ever hit", Trump told reporters.

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"We'll handle it. We're ready, we're able, we've got the finest people I think anywhere in the world", he added in a video message posted on his Twitter account.

Mr Trump provided no evidence to support his claims. But it's not the first time Mr. Trump has lauded his administration's response, despite those criticisms - the president called the federal response to the storm "fantastic" last month. "The Trump administration led us to believe they were helping when they weren't up to par, and they didn't allow other countries to help us", Cruz told CNN in late August.

PHOTO: In this file photo, an aerial image showing the damage done to the Morovis area of Puerto Rico three days after hurricane Maria passed through the island on September 20, 2017.

Connolly said Puerto Rico was prostrate for the better part of a year, "most of its power out for months and months and months, homes destroyed, roads washed away".

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