March 20 2018

Dear Puerto Rico: Sorry about the bumbler in chief

March 20 2018, 11:40 | Kristopher Gregory

Trump Says Puerto Rico Should Be “Proud” More People Haven't Died Like in a “Real Catastrophe Like Katrina”

Donald Trump heads to Puerto Rico amid criticism over handling of hurricane crisis

There is still no power; half the 3.4 million people do not have running water; 65 per cent are without communications; and nearly 9,000 have been forced from their homes. So far 16 people are confirmed dead from the storm.

President Donald Trump shook hands with storm survivors on the United States island of Puerto Rico, during a trip created to quiet critics who branded his initial response slow and ham-fisted.

The president has some previous association with the island.

Trump's remark after the briefing assured Puerto Ricans of a continued government effort and a definite restoration of the island. "Everybody watching can really be very proud of what's taken place in Puerto Rico". "Because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico".

"We need more help at a local level", Trump said, pointing to the need to distribute supplies throughout the island. At numerous turns, Trump asked officials to come forward with positive things to say about his administration's response. "Sixteen people versus in the thousands".

"I'm just very proud of the fact - you look at just one statistic, 16 deaths". Harvey, Irma and now Maria have devastated parts of the country, caused thousands to evacuate and left people without homes and the basic resources of survival.

Even so, the president and the mayor shook hands during Tuesday's visit, when Trump again raised the issue of what Puerto Rico's recovery will cost and how to pay for it.

Trump handed out packages of rice, then tossed rolls of paper towels into the crowd like a hoops star arching three-pointers, as some audience members captured the spectacle on their cellphones. According to pool reports, she did not comply with Trump's repeated insistence that the officials in the room applaud his talking points. "Great people", he added of those in attendance. "We have to do that, so at a local level they have to give us more help".

The president's visit to the island comes after he sparked controversy last week when he accused San Juan's mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, of "poor leadership" after she begged for federal aid.

Trust Donald Trump not to mince his words - yet totally mince them at the same time.

Other news