President Donald Trump traveled to Puerto Rico Tuesday for a five-hour whirlwind visit, two weeks after Hurricane Maria knocked out power across the island and left more than half the territory’s nearly 3.5 million residents without access to clean water. Throughout the trip, Trump repeatedly praised his administration’s response to the storm, comparing it to George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
President Donald Trump: “If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overpowering—nobody’s ever seen anything like this—and what is your—what is your death count as of this moment? Seventeen?”
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló: “Sixteen certified.”
President Donald Trump: “Sixteen people certified. Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people, working together.”
Trump’s comment came as Puerto Rican officials raised the official death toll from 16 to 34, though the Center for Investigative Journalism reports that number could rise into the hundreds in the final count. During one point in his trip, Trump handed out supplies to hurricane victims and tossed rolls of paper towels into the crowd, an action that drew online condemnation for being out of touch, considering the ongoing humanitarian crisis.