Trump says Puerto Rico's debt needs to be wiped out

Mr Trump talks with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello
Credit
Reuters

GUAYNABO (Puerto Rico) • US President Donald Trump has told Puerto Rico officials they should be "proud" that only 16 people died when Hurricane Maria hit their island, compared with the "thousands" killed in "a real catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina".

During his visit, Trump said that the reconstruction costs have thrown the federal budget "out of whack".

Almost two weeks after the storm, which is estimated to have caused $90 million (£67 million) of damage, 95% of electricity customers remain without power - including hospitals.

He was insulting to the people of Puerto Rico...he kind of minimized our suffering, saying that Katrina was a real disaster, sort of implying that this was not a real disaster, because not that many people have died here.

But just one day after Mr. Trump's remarks to Rivera, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney appeared to walk back the president's comments, suggesting to CBS News' Margaret Brennan that "we're absolutely not" bailing out Puerto Rico.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited Puerto Rico Tuesday to meet with some of the 3.4 million people struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria. About half do not have access to fresh drinking water.

Cruz initially spoke out about the Trump administration's response to the disaster last week, urging officials to survey the extensive damage themselves.

Almost two weeks after Maria thrashed through the United States territory, much of the island remains short of food and without access to power or drinking water. "We are talking about life and death".

This comes right after what many saw as a horrific visit to Puerto Rico by the President on Tuesday where the executive in chief was throwing rolls of paper towels into the crowd.

"We spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that's fine".

"What really is nasty is showing your back to the Puerto Rican people", Cruz added.

Currently, only a small percentage of Puerto Rico's population has electricity.

In an interview with MSNBC, she also said chatting with White House staff and informing them of what's happening on the island proved useful.

And she called his decision to throw paper towels and other supplies into a crowd of Hurricane Maria survivors "terrible and abominable".

He added: "I appreciate your support and I know you appreciate ours". "They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort".

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