President Trump on Tuesday touted what he described because the “extremely profitable” response to the back-to-back hurricanes that struck Puerto Rico final yr.
The president’s remarks got here within the midst of an replace within the Oval Workplace with officers on the standing of Hurricane Florence, at the moment making its manner in direction of the East Coast.
“I believe Puerto Rico was extremely profitable,” Trump stated, including that he thought the storms that hit the island have been “most likely the toughest” up to now resulting from “the island nature.”
“The job that FEMA and regulation enforcement and everyone did, working together with the governor in Puerto Rico, I believe was super. I believe that Puerto Rico was an unimaginable, unsung success,” Trump stated. “Texas we have now been given A-pluses for. Florida we’ve been given A-pluses for. I believe in a sure manner the perfect job we did was Puerto Rico however no person would perceive that, I imply it’s tougher to grasp.”
HURRICANE FLORENCE’S PATH: TRACK THE STORM HERE
Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the island in September 2017, the latter of which had its official demise toll elevated final month from 64 folks useless to 2,975.
The up to date quantity got here through an impartial investigation ordered by the native authorities, prompting Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello to boost the official complete.
The Trump administration’s efforts in Puerto Rico acquired widespread criticism. However after visiting the island final September, the president stated that Puerto Ricans have been lucky that the storm didn’t yield a disaster akin to the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Katrina alongside the Gulf Coast in 2005.
In response to the president’s feedback, Rossello issued a press release Tuesday on “the worst pure catastrophe in our trendy historical past.”
“No relationship between a colony and the federal authorities can ever be known as ‘profitable’ as a result of Puerto Ricans lack sure inalienable rights loved by our fellow Individuals within the states. The historic relationship between Puerto Rico and Washington is unfair and unAmerican. It’s actually not a profitable relationship,” Rossello stated.
“This was the worst pure catastrophe in our trendy historical past. Our primary infrastructure was devastated, 1000’s of our folks misplaced their lives and lots of others nonetheless battle,” the assertion continued. “Now shouldn’t be the time to move judgement; it’s time to channel each effort to enhance the lives of over three million Individuals in Puerto Rico.”
PUERTO RICO GOVERNOR RAISES HURRICANE MARIA DEATH TOLL FROM 64 TO 2,975
A number of Democratic lawmakers got here out towards the president’s phrases on Tuesday, together with Home Minority Chief Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who tweeted that “Individuals anticipate their presidents to come clean with their failures” and that Trump “should cease attempting to disclaim that tragedy & take steps to save lots of lives sooner or later.”
Home Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., launched a press release calling for the president to apologize.
“President Trump’s characterization of his administration’s botched response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria as ‘extremely profitable’ and ‘top-of-the-line jobs that’s ever been achieved’ is offensive to the households of the practically three,000 Individuals who have been killed and the numerous extra who suffered for months with out energy or working water,” Hoyer stated in a press release. “He must apologize, and Congress ought to analyze what went fallacious with the Trump Administration’s response and establish steps to make sure it doesn’t occur once more.”
“With one other storm now threatening our nation, I pray that the President and his workforce are usually not taking the identical method they did final yr in getting ready to satisfy this problem,” the assertion continued.
With the pending arrival of Hurricane Florence, Trump on Tuesday vowed that “the security of the American folks is my absolute highest precedence” and that the federal government was “completely ready” and could be “sparing no expense” in response efforts.
Fox Information’ Chad Pergram, Nicole Darrah and The Related Press contributed to this report.