President Donald Trump was joined by First Lady Melania Trump landed at the international airport in San Juan, where he was greeted by Gov. Ricardo Rosello and other dignataries. Trump praised Rosello for "not playing politics" in the wake of Hurricane Maria. He also praised Puerto Rico's representative to Congress, Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon. She in turned praised the efforts of the federal government in the recovery. "Thank you Mr.President," she said, "for everything you are doing for Puerto Rico."

In his impromptu remarks, President Trump told Puerto Rican officials that they should be "proud" that more of their fellow citizens have not perished, as was the case like a "real catastrophe like Katrina."  He added that that the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria has thrown the national budget “a little out of whack.”

With Gov. Rossello at his side, the president said, “Every death is a horror. But if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you 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," he said. "What is your death count as of this moment? 17? 16 people certified, 16 people versus in the thousands.”

Before departing the White House, Trump spoke to the exchange of remarks and tweets he had with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz last week, he told the media, “I think it’s now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done, and people are looking at that.” He said, “And in Texas and in Florida, we get an A-plus. And I’ll tell you what, I think we’ve done just as good in Puerto Rico, and it’s actually a much tougher situation. But now the roads are cleared, communications is starting to come back. We need their truck drivers to start driving trucks.” Cruz was critical of the federal government's response to the disaster on the island, claiming that people are "dying." Fox News reporter Geraldo Rivera visited Puerto Rico and, after seeing the recovery efforts, said he saw no one "dying." He also criticized members of the media for mistatements about the president and the recovery in Puerto Rico.

On the tarmac at the airport in San Juan, President Trump also thanked Gov. Rosselló for the latter's positive comments about the administration’s work in Puerto Rico, saying, “He has said we have done an incredible job, and that’s the truth.”

Rossello is the son of a former governor, and was a delegate for Hillary Clinton at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Here follows a video of the meeting:

 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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