President Trump said Monday that there’s “never been a piece of land that we’ve known that was so devastated” as Puerto Rico.
Trump gave reporters in the Oval Office an update about his upcoming trip to the island Tuesday, saying he would be meeting with first responders and with military and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials during his visit.
“Frankly, most importantly, we’re going to be seeing the people of Puerto Rico,” Trump said.
Trump added that it’s been “amazing what’s been done in a very short amount of time in Puerto Rico.”
“There’s never been a piece of land that we’ve known that was so devastated,” Trump said, detailing destruction to the territory’s infrastructure, telecommunications and electric grid.
“But we’ve gotten tremendous amounts of food water and lots of other things, supplies generally speaking, on the island,” he added.
The Trump administration has been criticized for its response to Hurricane Maria on the U.S. territory, facing claims that it hadn’t done enough to help the island recover.
The administration responded by noting the food, water and supplies it has sent to the territory after the storm and cited the logistical difficulties in transporting items to the island.
Trump had also faced criticism for his comments about San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who he said had “poor leadership ability” after the storm.
The president also faced blowback for suggesting Puerto Ricans hadn’t done enough to help themselves recover from the hurricane.
Puerto Rico’s roughly 3.4 million residents are struggling to recover from the massive Category 4 storm, facing a lack of access to drinking water, food shortages and a general loss of power across the island.
Trump's trip to the island Tuesday will come nearly two weeks after the storm made landfall.