World News

Trump says response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was ‘underappreciated’

Trump says response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was ‘underappreciated’

President Donald Trump tried to reassure Americans in the path of Hurricane Florence that his administration was prepared - and the boasted about previous storms and blamed others for the government's failures.

In a series of morning tweets as Florence bore down on the Southeast U.S. coast, Trump bristled over criticism of the response to Hurricane Maria, in which 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico.

While the federal response to storms in Texas and Florida a year ago was "A-plus", Trump said, "the best job we did was Puerto Rico, but no one would understand that". Puerto Rico's governor last month raised the USA territory's official death toll from hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975.

Toobin suggested during an appearance on CNN's "New Day" early Wednesday that Trump boasted the day before that one of his administration's "best jobs" was the response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico past year because he didn't really value the lives of those lost. The storm is also estimated to have caused $100 billion in damage. "We are ready for the big one that is coming!"

"I think Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success", Trump said, speaking from the Oval Office, where he was briefed on efforts to prepare for Florence.

He suggested disaster recovery should be a "whole community effort".

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Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan and a fierce critic of Trump and his response to Hurricane Maria, said his comments added "insult to injury".

The ladies questioned whether Trump even cares about the body count in Puerto Rico, and whether - as Whoopi Goldberg put it - "he's living in a whole other realm of reality".

"We're as ready as anybody's ever been", he told reporters at the White House.

The president, flanked by maps of the storm and the heads of the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Florence was unlikely to change course before it is expected to make landfall with 130 miles per hour winds and potentially ruinous rains in the coming days.

The states of Virginia, North Carolina and SC haven't seen a storm of such size and intensity in 25 years or perhaps ever, Trump said. "It's tremendously big and tremendously wet", he said.

According to Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean, Florence could stall upon reaching the Carolina coast later this week and make a slight shift south toward SC once it makes landfall, becoming "a major flooding event".


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