President Donald Trump vowed support for the ongoing relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico in somber remarks Friday, but later again touted his administration’s response to the ongoing devastation on the US territory.
“It’s been total devastation,” Trump said, before adding: “But I think it’s going really well, considering.”
Departing the White House on Friday afternoon ahead of a weekend at his New Jersey golf club, Trump said it was a “tough situation” on the island.
“The loss of life, it’s always tragic,” Trump said. “But it’s been incredible. The results that we’ve had with respect to loss of life. People can’t believe how successful that has been, relatively speaking.”
Trump praised the federal disaster response team that’s working to help the island recover, including his FEMA administrator and acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, who found herself accused of insensitivity after she called Puerto Rico a “good news story” on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Trump offered support for the island during remarks at a manufacturing event in Washington.
“We will not rest, however, until the people of Puerto Rico are safe. These are great people. We want them to be safe and sound and secure, and we will be there every day until that happens,” he said at the beginning of remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington.
Offering his “thoughts and prayers” to Puerto Ricans, Trump touted his administration’s “massive federal mobilization” in the face of an unprecedented storm, including the presence of over 10,000 federal personnel.
BETSY KLEIN and KEVIN LIPTAK