Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 7:20 PM
By: Fiza Pirani, Atlanta Jouornal-Constitution
GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico. — During a briefing with officials in Puerto Rico Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the U.S. territory has “thrown our budget a little out of whack,” and told officials they should be “proud” that the death toll wasn’t as high as Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Trump said the storm damage in Puerto Rico wasn’t “a real catastrophe like Katrina” because the confirmed death toll is 16 so far, compared to the thousands who perished in Hurricane Katrina, Trump said
Trump also criticized local officials for being unprepared, while praising the federal response.
The trip comes amid harsh criticism against Trump and his administration for what many have said was a slow response to the disaster.
Beyond disapproval about the timeline of his Puerto Rico trip, several pundits and other have taken aim at the president’s visit to the devastated country, with many calling his behavior and comments during the briefing “inappropriate” and “ridiculous.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke to a crowd of reporters Tuesday about Trump’s visit, saying, “Mr. President, enough. Stop blaming Puerto Rico for the storm that devastated their shores, and roll up your sleeves and get the recovery on track. That’s your job as president.”
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who criticized Trump for a slow response to send aid, also said in an interview with CNN that Trump sometimes “spouts” comments “that really hurt the people of Puerto Rico.”
But Cruz later tweeted that she believes the trip helped the White House staff understand the situation in Puerto Rico.
According to the New York Times, more than 50 of Puerto Rico’s roughly 65 hospitals are running on generators as much of the island territory continues without basic amenities and power.
And reports by FEMA found only 50 percent of Puerto Rico currently has access to clean drinking water.