President Trump rejects Puerto Rico death toll, blames Democrats

Zach Gibson  AFP  Getty Images People cross the street as water floods outside buildings in Old Town Alexandria Va. Sept. 11 2018

According to CBS News correspondent David Begnaud, the water bottles were provided by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and then handed over to the central government, which failed to distribute the supplies.

Speaking to reporters as Hurricane Florence closed in on the US East Coast, Trump said last year's operation 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 previous year, according to @FEMA, which confirmed the news to me", Begnaud wrote.

The Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rossello slammed the president's comments and argued that the relationship between "a colony and the federal government" could never be successful. Texas, we've been given A-pluses for. Florida, we've been given A-plusses for. "And by the way, speaking of Puerto Rico, they're going to be affected pretty much, pretty soon by something else that's on its way, is that right?" he added.

President Donald Trump continued to insist Wednesday that his administration did a "great job" in responding to Hurricane Maria, which left almost 3,000 people dead, as Hurricane Florence rolls toward the Carolina coast.

A George Washington University study in July found that 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island territory in September 2017. "You did not do a good job in Puerto Rico".

Critics blasted Trump's praise of the Puerto Rico response.

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But a report from the Government Accountability Office said FEMA was so overwhelmed with storms previous year that when Maria hit it was unable to respond properly, noting that more than half of its disaster workers were not qualified for the jobs they were doing.

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"This was the worst natural disaster in our modern history".

"Pres Trump thinks loosing [sic] 3,000 lives is a success", she tweeted Tuesday.

"And when the storm hit they had no electricity, essentially before the storm and when the storm hit that took it out entirely", the president continued.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., released a statement calling for the president to apologize.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that the incoming storm is "looking even bigger than anticipated", urging those in the hurricane's path to "get out of its way". "He ought to apologize, and Congress ought to investigate what went wrong with the Trump Administration's response and identify steps to ensure it does not happen again".

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