San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said that the Trump administration has “looked away” from Puerto Rico after a study found a significantly higher death toll from Hurricane Maria than was officially announced.
“What is staggering is that the Trump administration has completely looked away when this death toll is announced,” Cruz said on MSNBC’s “Kasie DC” on Sunday.
The mayor said that while the total number of people who died as a result of last year’s storm may never be known, “hundreds or thousands died.”
A study released in the New England Journal of Medicine last month found that as many as 4,645 people died from the hurricane. The Puerto Rican government has listed the official death toll at 64, but has commissioned a study to determine a new count.
“The government of Puerto Rico remains silent and idle while the federal government under the Trump administration was looking and continued to look the other way and make things very difficult for the Puerto Rican people,” Cruz said.
She added that while the “Trump administration has looked away from its legal imperative,” Americans “have risen to the occasion” and volunteers continue to arrive at the island to help.
Cruz, who was highly critical of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE and the federal response to the storm last year, also called on Trump to acknowledge the death toll from the hurricane.
“President Trump tweets about the crack of dawn and he hasn’t even tweeted one time to say, ‘look, I mourn with the people of Puerto Rico,' ” she said.
Cruz last week wore a hat showing the revised death count from the new study.
Trump, meanwhile, criticized Cruz for her "poor leadership" during the response to the hurricane.
Critics say the federal government did not respond as quickly or robustly to the devastation of the U.S. territory as it had for hurricanes that hit the U.S. mainland.