Trump called Hurricane Maria response an "incredible unsung success" | Lexington Herald Leader

Trump called Hurricane Maria response an

President Donald Trump called the federal government's response past year to hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico an "incredible unsung success" despite a study released last month that put the death toll at almost 3,000 people.

And the the federal government's relief effort was riddled with demonstrable failures: Despite receiving advance warning of the hurricane's likely landfall in Puerto Rico, the administration neglected to deploy satellite phones, generators, and reserves of food, fuel, and water in advance of the storm.

"I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success", he had said. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000".

Photos first posted to social media this week by Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican police agency, showed tens of thousands of water bottles sitting on a tarmac in the city of Ceiba.

It comes as President Trump cause outrage by claiming that the USA response to Hurricane Maria was "an incredible unsung success".

"What may be millions of water bottles. meant for victims of Hurricane Maria, have been sitting on a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, since a year ago, according to @FEMA, which confirmed the news to me", Begnaud wrote.

The president spoke before meeting with aides about preparations for Hurricane Florence, which is expected to hit the Carolinas and Virginia later this week.

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"They say it's about as big as they have seen coming to this country, and certainly to the East Coast as they've ever seen", Trump said. They did not die of old age - they died of neglect.

The Puerto Rican government, after conducting a study with researchers at George Washington University, significantly revised its estimates of deaths related to Hurricane Maria upward over the summer.

A CBS reporter who picked up on the viral photos of the unused water bottles confirmed that they were brought to the island and turned over to Puerto Rico's central government.

With all eyes on Hurricane Florence, a Facebook post is casting fresh doubts on the federal government's response a year ago to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló shot back in a statement that "the historical relationship between Puerto Rico and Washington is unfair and unAmerican" and "certainly not a successful relationship". Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz tweeted to the president on Thursday: "Shame on you", including a picture of his tweet.

The president defended the federal government's "fantastic job" in Puerto Rico.

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