Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, had strong words for President Donald Trump on the heels of yesterday’s statement he made in which he celebrated the “work the federal family undertook to help our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.”
“Shame on President Trump,” said Mayor Cruz. “Two thousand nine hundred and seventy-five dead. Is that what he’s proud of?”
Buzzfeed reports that during her appearance Wednesday morning on CNN, Cruz criticized the White House statement as being insensitive. “He doesn’t even take a time of the day to say ‘look, I’m sorry that you people are grieving, I’m sorry that your people died.'”
When President Trump visited Puerto Rico shortly after the storm hit, he cited the then relatively reported low death toll as a sign that the government responded well to the crisis at hand. According to the White House, in a briefing at Luis Muniz Air National Guard Base on day 43 of the disaster response, Trump commented that compared to a ‘real’ catastrophe like Katrina in which “tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people” died, the supposed 16 confirmed dead proved that everyone involved in the disaster response “can really be very proud of what’s taken place in Puerto Rico.”
In her comments Wednesday, Mayor Cruz also compared the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to Katrina.
“Now we have more deaths than Katrina, and what comes out of the White House yesterday is simply ‘we are very proud of what we did and we are committed.’ The Trump administration killed the Puerto Rican with neglect.”
Mayor Cruz’s comments called back to Trump’s October 2017 visit, when the president helped distribute supplies in a Puerto Rico church.
“Rather than coming here to support us, he came here to throw paper towels at us, and we will never forget and we will always remember.”
As previously reported in The Inquisitr, Puerto Rican officials revised the official count of storm victims Tuesday after an independent study found that many deaths were inaccurately classified. Within a few weeks of the Category 4 hurricane devastating the island, many locals began clamoring for further investigation into the death count. In 2017, the Miami Herald reported that “The storm-related fatalities are mounting with each passing day, and official numbers are not counting patients who are not receiving dialysis, oxygen and other essential services.”
With the death toll from Hurricane Maria now recorded as nearly 3,000, the August 2017 storm is now on record as the deadliest natural disaster to hit the U.S. since 1900. Hurricane Katrina, previously considered the most devastating American Hurricane, caused 1,833 fatalities along the country’s southern coast in 2005.
11 months after Maria, ABC News reports that some parts of the island are still without electricity.