Trump Revives Criticism Of Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria Death Toll Jumps

Arecibo Observatory cats Mars and Venus after a trip to the vet

Arecibo Observatory cats Mars and Venus after a trip to the vet

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration killed Puerto Ricans through "neglect", the mayor of the island's capital said Wednesday, a day after the official death toll for Hurricane Maria was raised to almost 3,000.

"I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico", President Trump responded, adding, "don't forget, their electric plant was dead before the hurricane".

Trump told reporters Wednesday that his administration is doing a "fantastic job in Puerto Rico", and that governor Rosello has done an "excellent job".

"We have put billions and billions of dollars into Puerto Rico, and it was a tough one", Trump said Wednesday.

The U.S. territory's governor this week raised the official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975 - nearly twice the government's previous estimate.

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He said the emergency response to Puerto Rico was more hard than when Texas and Florida were hit with hurricanes around the same time "because it's an island" - and falsely claimed "their electric plant was dead before the hurricane". Before Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September 2017, Puerto Rico's bankruptcy crisis loomed large. Just over two weeks ago, on August 14, power was fully restored on Puerto Rico, marking the first time the entire island has had power since the storm. But both reports confirmed the fear of experts who suspected the loss of life as a result of Maria was much higher than the original government counts. It took emergency responders days to get to many homes because of how widespread the damages were across the island.

Trump's remarks outraged San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has been fighting for the recovery of her island and literally waded through raw sewage to search for survivors in the aftermath.

"The administration killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect".

"He just doesn't get it, he's incapable of getting it", said Cruz on MSNBC.

"[Trump] left us here to die because [he] was more concerned about the political spin than the human reality that we were dying", Cruz said.

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