President Donald Trump on Thursday sought to call into question the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, saying the death toll from the summer 2017 storm, which has been revised to almost 3,000 people, was the work of Democrats looking to tarnish his record.
President Trump rekindled his feud with the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, over Hurricane Maria response as Hurricane Florida bears down on the Carolinas, and the Republican governor of Puerto Rico lashed out at Trump's assertion that last year's hurricane response was great.
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".
"If it wasn't for the churches and private organizations, we truly would not have received help from anyone", Ruiz said. "The Trump administration led us to believe they were helping when they weren't up to par, and they didn't allow other countries to help us". The most the president did during the crisis in Puerto Rico, Cuomo suggested, was "toss a few rolls of paper towels" to residents and fly back to Washington.
The administration's efforts in Puerto Rico were widely criticized as slow and insufficient.
For Maria, there was a large gap between when the first loan was approved and when loans started ramping up.
"During our broader study, we found that many physicians were not oriented in the appropriate certification protocol", according to the report from the researchers at GWU.
Islanders have also been angered by recent discoveries of supplies that never got delivered.
Ottmar Chavez, the new secretary of the island's General Services Administration, said at a news conference that Puerto Rican officials requested the water from the USA government and were supposed to pick it up in late May. "When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths", he tweeted. More than half of the workforce - 54 percent - that FEMA sent to Puerto Rico lacked proper training.
But after about 700 pallets had been distributed, complaints began to come in about the water's foul smell and taste, Chavez said in a statement.
His latest remarks once again dredged up those same hurt feelings. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. "It bothers me and it hurts".