Trump stands by disaster response in Puerto Rico: ‘We did a fantastic job’

August 29, 2018

President Trump on Wednesday stood the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria last year in Puerto Rico, despite a new study raising the death toll to 2,975.

“I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico,” Mr. Trump told reports at the White House. “We’ve put a lot of money and a lot of effort into Puerto Rico.”

He said the federal government spent “billions and billions of dollars” in response to the hurricane.

Puerto Rico authorities had kept the death toll at 64 until they commissioned a study by George Washington University that put the storm-related deaths at nearly 3,000.

The study, which examined an unusually long six-month time period for storm-related deaths, placed Hurricane Maria among the most deadly in U.S. history.

“We are still helping Puerto Rico,” the president said. “The governor is an excellent guy and he is very happy with the job we have done.”

Mr. Trump said the natural disaster in Puerto Rico was “a tough one.”

He noted that the island already suffered from a failing power grid before the hurricane hit.

Mr. Trump also said the logistics of the relief effort was complicated by the island location.

Update hourly