Communities across Puerto Rico are holding memorials across the island today to mark the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria, the devastating storm that killed thousands and caused the longest blackout in U.S. history. Puerto Rico’s governor recently updated the death toll from the storm to 2,975 people, after multiple news outlets and universities demonstrated that thousands of people died during the days and weeks after Maria. A Harvard study estimates the death toll might be as high as 4,645. But last week President Trump claimed the death numbers were inflated by Democrats to make him look bad. He said the government’s response to the storm was an “incredible unsung success.” In Puerto Rico, local residents criticized Trump’s comments. Sharon Nunez Cortez is a resident of Barceloneta.
Sharon Nunez Cortez: “Well, how can [Trump] give an opinion if he hasn’t come to see the misfortune that is our reality? Because he came and was interviewed in an area where there wasn’t a disaster. They should have taken him to where there was a disaster, where helicopters had to rescue people who couldn’t leave their homes because there was nowhere to go. There were floods that even swept away bridges. But he is giving his opinion from the comfort of his chair without knowing what really happened.”