“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” President Trump said today, making what was billed as a fact-finding trip to the island still reeling from the impact of two hurricanes.
Two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 5 storm, 90% of residents are without power and about half without drinking water.
“Because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico,” Trump continued, as the pool camera rolled. “But that’s fine. We have saved a lot of lives – every death is a horror,” he said.
“But, if you look at real catastrophes like Katrina, and you look at the hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look here at the storm – nobody had ever seen anything like this. What is your death count?” Trump asked Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló.
“Sixteen people certified, versus in the thousands [killed during Hurricane Katrina],” Trump crowed.
“You can be very proud,” he told Rosselló.
Trump boasted he got an A+ for his administration’s handling of hurricane rescue, recovery and relief in Houston and Florida, and “then all of a sudden there was another one heading to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” reminding he originally had been scheduled to visit Puerto Rico on the day Maria hit.
“This has been the toughest one; this has been a Category 5, which few people have ever heard of, a Category 5 hitting land. But it did hit, and boy did it hit,” POTUS said.
Trump heaped praise on Rosselló:
“He’s not even from my party and he started, right at the beginning, appreciating what I did…This governor did not play politics. He was saying it like it was, and giving us highest ratings.”
Trump then went around the table, asking people to say nice things about him, and federal and local officials, for their hurricane response. Trump did not, however, invite San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who was at the table, to speak. Cruz has been very outspoken in her criticism of Trump’s response to the disaster.