President Trump on Thursday claimed that he has taken better care of Puerto Rico than “any living human being.”
“Puerto Rico has been taken care of better by Donald Trump than by any living human being. And I think the people of Puerto Rico understand that,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for a rally in Michigan.
He went on to attack San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who very publicly criticized the president for his treatment of the U.S. territory in the wake of hurricanes Maria and Irma, going so far as to claim his administration killed people due to “neglect.” He also cautioned Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to “spend the money wisely.”
“But you do have the mayor of San Juan who, frankly, doesn’t know what she’s doing—and the governor, they gotta spend the money wisely,” Trump said. “They don’t know how to spend the money, and they’re not spending it wisely—but I’m giving them more money than they’ve ever gotten[.]”
The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Trump complained about the amount of aid funding Puerto Rico got in comparison to Florida and Texas to GOP senators and asked his top aides about limiting federal funding for the island.
Trump has previously called the government’s response “fantastic,” an “unsung success” and graded it a “10.”
The Hill adds:
A study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government found that nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the storm. The island adopted that as the official death toll, increasing it from 64.
Trump later claimed without evidence that the numbers were inflated to make him look bad.
In the wake of Trump’s latest remarks criticizing officials on the island, Rosselló urged the president to visit the area and “stop listening to ignorant and completely wrong advice.”
“Mr. President: Enough with the insults and demeaning mischaracterizations,” Rosselló said. “We are not your political adversaries; we are your citizens.”rsaries; we are your citizens.”