Speaking to reporters alongside Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló at the White House on Thursday, President Trump gave the White House the highest possible marks for its response to Hurricane Maria.
Asked by a reporter “between one and 10, how would you grade the White House response,” Trump replied, “I say it was a 10.”
Trump’s rationale for giving himself the highest marks centered on how bad the storm was, not anything in particular his administration has done.
“I’d say it was probably it was the most difficult, um — when you talk about relief, when you talk about search, when you talk about all of the different levels, ah, and even when you talk about lives saved, if you look at the number,” Trump said. “I think it was worse than [Hurricane] Katrina, it was in many ways worse than anything people have ever seen.”
Trump’s comments, which came one day shy of the one-month anniversary of Maria hitting Puerto Rico, come while more than 35 percent of the island’s resident still lack access to safe drinking water and less than 20 percent have electricity.
Later during the media availability, Trump asked Rosselló an extremely leading question — “did the United States, did our government, when we came in, did we do a great job?”
Rosselló didn’t directly answer. Instead, he said “you responded immediately, sir.”
Meanwhile, as ThinkProgress reported on Wednesday, some Puerto Rico residents have resorted to using water from a toxic well.
A month after Maria, 82% of Americans in Puerto Rico have no power, 35% no water.
And you’re still tweeting attacks at football players. https://t.co/Xoh47aEoHp
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) October 18, 2017
Trump’s White House media available with Rosselló was his first public appearance with the Puerto Rican governor since October 3, when Trump made a visit to the island. During a news conference on that day, Trump praised Rosselló not for the work he’s done responding to the humanitarian crisis wrought by Maria, but for not criticizing him personally.
“Right from the beginning, this governor did not play politics, he didn’t play at all, he was saying it like it was and he was giving us the highest grades and I want to on behalf of our country, I want to thank you,” Trump said.