The day after Puerto Rican authorities acknowledged that 2,975 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria, President Donald Trump told reporters his administration “did a fantastic job” there after the storm.
“I think, Puerto Rico, we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico. We are still helping in Puerto Rico. The governor is an excellent guy and he is very happy with the job we’ve done,” Trump told reporters in the West Wing on Wednesday afternoon.
On Tuesday, a study commissioned by Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was published by George Washington University after months of criticism over the inaccuracy of the official death toll.
Researchers estimated that 2,975 people died from September to February during the hurricane and in the months after, according to the study, while medical facilities struggled and millions of people lived without clean water, electricity, and reliable cellphone connections.
In his comments Wednesday, Trump went on to say, falsely, that electricity on the island was “gone before the hurricane.”
“We have put billions and billions of dollars into Puerto Rico. And it was a very tough one, don’t forget, their electric plant was dead before the hurricane,” he said. “If you look back on your records, you’ll see that the plant was dead and was shut. It was bankrupt. It was out of business. They owed tremendous amounts of money, they had it closed up. And then when the hurricane came, people said, what are we going to do about electricity? That was not the hurricane, that was gone before the hurricane.”