Trump comments sting in Puerto Rico amid slow storm recovery

Donald Trump Hurricane Florence

Donald Trump Hurricane Florence

US President Donald Trump is disputing that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico after the island was hit by two hurricanes a year ago.

Cruz quickly responded, implying that the president was out of touch with what had really happened in Puerto Rico.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has been in a war of words with Trump over the federal response to Hurricane Maria, shot back minutes later Thursday morning.

"If he thinks that 3,000 people dying on his watch is a good news story or is an unsung success ... nobody's going to be singing his praises", she added, calling the operation a "despicable act of neglect" by the Trump administration.

"Shame on President Trump".

"If it wasn't for the churches and private organizations, we truly would not have received help from anyone", Ruiz said. "If we were another state, the response would have been much faster". And the problem with Puerto Rico is their electric grid and their electric-generating plant was dead before the storms ever hit. From Sept. 30 to October 7, not one of those checks was approved.

At the time, the administration committed to a more aggressive response to storms that struck Texas, even as that situation there became more manageable and Puerto Rico desperately needed more assistance.

George Washington University also counted those who died in the six months following the storm as a result of poor healthcare provision and a lack of electricity and clean water.

Islanders have also been angered by recent discoveries of supplies that never got delivered. A photo that emerged Tuesday of thousands of water bottles abandoned on a runway in eastern Puerto Rico prompted local officials to say Wednesday that they were opening an investigation.

Chavez said in a statement that about 700 pallets of water had been distributed, but there were complaints about the smell and taste.

"Now is not the time to pass judgement; it is time to channel every effort to improve the lives of over 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico", he added.

"When I left the island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths", Trump tweeted about his first and only visit to Puerto Rico after hurricanes Irma and Maria pummeled the island in September 2017.

His latest remarks once again dredged up those same hurt feelings. "It bothers me and it hurts".

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