President Donald Trump misrepresented the crisis facing Puerto Rico Friday, bragging that people “can’t believe how successful” the administration has been at saving lives following Hurricane Maria.
“The loss of life, it’s always tragic. But it’s been incredible,” Trump told reporters Friday before taking off for his golf course in New Jersey. “The results that we’ve had with respect to loss of life. People can’t believe how successful that has been, relatively speaking.”
"The loss of life, it's always tragic. But it's been incredible. The results that we've had with respect to loss of life." pic.twitter.com/S9ffJJqKdj
— Salvador Hernandez (@SalHernandez) September 29, 2017
Just minutes later, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz painted a very different picture of the situation at a press conference.
“I am going to do what I never thought I would do. I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying,” Cruz said.
Speaking of the government’s response to the crisis, Cruz said, “We are dying and you are killing us with the inefficiency.”
"We are dying and you are killing us with the inefficiency." — San Juan mayor, exasperating with govt response to Puerto Rico https://t.co/5wQuen9cgB
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) September 29, 2017
Other Puerto Ricans are slamming Trump’s response to the crisis, as ThinkProgress’ E.A. Crunden reported Friday.
Trump did not address the crisis in the territory for several days after Hurricane Maria hit, seemingly preoccupied with his ongoing feud with NFL players who kneel in protest during the national anthem. When Trump finally did address the crisis, he essentially blamed Puerto Rico for its own problems.
“Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble,” Trump tweeted Monday. “It’s old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities — and doing well.”
Subsequently, when Trump has talked about the crisis, it has been to sing his own praises.
“Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello just stated: ‘The Administration and the President, every time we’ve spoken, they’ve delivered……’” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello just stated: "The Administration and the President, every time we've spoken, they've delivered……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 29, 2017
Cruz, who is actually in Puerto Rico, is telling a very different story. She said Friday that Puerto Ricans are being seen “as animals that can be disposed of,” a far cry from saying how “successful” Trump has been “in regards to loss of life.”