Trump says Puerto storm response ‘unappreciated’

13 September, 2018, 00:00 | Author: Myra Gill
  • President Trump talks about Hurricane Florence during a briefing in the White House’s Oval Office on Tuesday. More

Puerto Rico's governor last month raised the US territory's official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975.

Trump on Tuesday, alongside Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, said the island's electric grid had been already "in bad shape". Delays in restoring power led to more deaths. Trump again called it an "unsung success" hampered by San Juan Mayor Carmon Yulin Cruz, and the whole "island" thing. Presumably, few Puerto Rico residents, many of whom were without electricity or even water for months, were contacted during that poll.

"The administration killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect", she added. "We were 'buying" water because they wouldn't give it to us".

While the President has frequently praised the government response in the year since the hurricane, others in the administration have acknowledged learned lessons.


Federal forecasters expect the storm to make landfall on Friday with 130 mile-per-hour (215 kph) winds and massive waves, with rains taking a heavy toll inland.

But perhaps worst of all is the fact that Trump is using words like "tremendous" and "success" to describe a response to a storm that ultimately killed nearly 3,000 people, more than the roughly 1,800 killed by Hurricane Katrina and about the same number of people who were killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. You never know, but we know.

"We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida", Trump said via Twitter. "And so we're reorganizing the firepower of the federal government underneath these critical lifelines, we're pushing forward".

"I actually think it was one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about", Trump said Tuesday of the response in Puerto Rico, suggesting that it was made more hard by the "island nature" of the storm site. During a visit to the island last September, Trump tossed paper towels into a crowd and told Puerto Rican officials that they should be proud the damage did not compare to the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which he described as a "real catastrophe".

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