Hurricane Maria victims find shelter with family in Fayetteville

Share

In an interview last night with Geraldo Rivera for Hannity, Trump raised the issue of the territory's massive debt crisis, and said that investors on Wall Street would have to "wave goodbye" to Puerto Rico's bonds in order to allow them to rebuild.

Mr Trump compared the death roll from Hurricane Maria to that of 2005's Hurricane Katrina in the U.S., which he deemed "a real catastrophe".

CNN journalist and Trump's bête noire Jim Acosta said that Trump's behavior was "strange and un-presidential".

Trump praised Rossello and the federal response to the hurricane.

"Trump is basically saying, 'When hurricanes hit our people, they're not hitting our best". Sixteen versus literally thousands of people.

"You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together", he said.

"What's happened in terms of recovery, in terms of saving lives - 16 lives that's a lot - but if you compare that to the thousands of people who died in other hurricanes that frankly were not almost as severe", he said.

Promising to help, Pence said the administration would "work every part of it and help Puerto Rico recover".

At a news conference on Wednesday, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said the death toll jumped to 34 from 16 on the basis of a report that he commissioned to consult with hospitals and gain a more complete picture of the number of victims. Thousands of homes have been destroyed, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA spokesman William Booher told the Post that the information on power and water access was "readily available" on status.PR and that FEMA also briefed the media twice a day and provided other updates.

Known deaths from Maria in the United States territory stand at 34.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has been highly critical of the scope and pace of the relief effort, was also at the airport and briefly shook hands with Trump.

"We're here to stand with Puerto Rico in this very painful moment, and to highlight the role of banks that continue to profit from the misery of millions of Puerto Ricans", Fuentes said. "Puerto Rico was already undergoing a bankruptcy process that was going to substantially cut the island's debt".

Mr Trump also pointed out the impact on USA spending from storm recovery on the island, which itself was already facing a budget shortfall of $72bn (£54bn).

But 4 in 10 whites, 6 in 10 Hispanics and almost 8 in 10 blacks disapprove of the response in Puerto Rico. Over the weekend, he unleashed a barrage of tweets aimed at the island and its political leadership.

"Sometimes his style of communication gets in the way", Cruz said of Trump's comment.

Cruz argued that federal aid had been slow to reach Puerto Rico following Maria, which knocked out power to the entire island.

However, the reality on the ground tells a different story.

In a Wednesday interview with Radio Isla, Rosario said Puerto Rico's devastation "was worse than Katrina", even though the death count is lower at this time. But for now, more action and less talk is advised.

Share