San Juan mayor calls Hurricane Maria ‘Trump's Katrina’
© Getty Images

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE on CNN Thursday over his administration's statements surrounding cleanup efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. 

Cruz told CNN's "Anderson Cooper Full Circle" that the administration's failures on the island had been "historic," and were partially responsible for the thousands of dead U.S. citizens.

The island's government recently updated the death toll from Hurricane Maria to nearly 3,000.


"This is historic. It's a historic failing," she told Cooper. "This is President Trump's Katrina."

"For a year he has tried to spin it," she added, according to CNN. "But the truth speaks louder than he ever will. He can spin it all he wants. Three thousand people died on his watch."

Her comments followed denials from the president over the island's official death count. Trump has, without evidence, blamed Democrats for "inflating" the total with unrelated deaths that occurred after the hurricane.

The death count, which officially sits at 2,975, included people who died because they were unable to receive assistance and medical treatment in the days and weeks following the storms.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths," Trump tweeted last week. "As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000."

The tweet sparked backlash and corrections from politicians on both sides of the aisle, with even top Trump allies such as Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida gov says arrested Giuliani associate was seen as a top Trump supporter in the state Backlash erupts at video depicting Trump killing media, critics WHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets MORE (R-Fla.) backing away from the president's remarks.

"I evaluated everything they did, and it is my view it was a very well done estimate of the death toll numbers," the island's Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who has a PhD in biomedical engineering, said Thursday.

"Of course, at this juncture we can talk about estimates, but certainly it's in the ballpark, and that’s why I have taken it upon myself to take that number … as the official toll in Puerto Rico," he added.