Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Colbert fact-checks Trump's 'sickening' Hurricane Maria comments

Colbert fact-checks Trump's 'sickening' Hurricane Maria comments

Trump's evidence for why the study was wrong?

A senior official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says millions of bottles of water were moved onto a runway in Puerto Rico in January as a cost-saving measure as regular water service was restored to the island in the months after Hurricane Maria.

When Trump visited in October 2017, two weeks after the storm hit, the death toll at the time was indeed 16 people.

The report came almost a year after a much-maligned visit to Puerto Rico by Trump two weeks after Maria, where he implied that residents should be "proud" that the official death toll at the time was just 16 people, far lower than that of a "real catastrophe, like Katrina". "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000". Trump then boasted about "successfully raising" billions of dollars to rebuild the territory. "It was just such a powerful storm", the congressman said, adding that he believes Trump "has been, I think, overly criticized for his response".

"He's talking about the one a year ago, because he's been tweeting a lot about what a great job he did responding to Hurricane Maria, that decimated Puerto Rico last year", Colbert said. Bush could at least plead that he did not know the full extent of FEMA's failure (1,833 people died in Katrina) when he made that unfortunate comment.

"I thought you all wanted to talk about the Kavanaugh nomination", he said. "He's an illegitimate president handling this situation in this way. If you are a United States citizen, you should be disgusted by this". She compared his messages to his statements about the crowd size at his inauguration and poll numbers. He added that shipping the supplies back to the USA for use in future disasters was "cost prohibitive", and said, "Anytime we waste water, that's something we try absolutely not to do". "Subsequently, there have been 11 executive orders issued by Cruz Soto to designate Jaume as interim mayor while she is outside Puerto Rico". "It wasn't because this president doesn't care about Puerto Rico".

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a Democrat who tangled with the president over and over while Hurricane Maria made global news, fired back at him on Thursday. "How can we make it so more people die?' You think that was actually happening in the White House?"

"I don't want to comment on what the president said", said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who went on to ask why estimates of the dead had sharply increased over the a year ago.

"At the time that this was happening, he was more concerned with National Football League athletes protesting and kneeling then he was concerned about what's going on in the United States", she continued. "I said it and I'll say it again". That caused me to look into it.

Mr. Trump earlier this week described his administration's efforts in Puerto Rico as an "unsung success".

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