President Trump on Tuesday compared the “death counts” between Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, and Hurricane Maria, which has created an ongoing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.
Speaking at a meeting of government officials in San Juan, Trump praised the federal government’s response in Puerto Rico by comparing the number of deaths in those two tragedies.
“If you looked — every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overbearing, nobody has seen anything like this,” Trump said. “What is your death count as of this morning, 17?”
“Sixteen people certified," Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló responded.
“Sixteen people certified versus in the thousands,” Trump said. “You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud.”
More than 1,200 people died as a result of Katrina, which was one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history. Some experts have said that they believe the number of deaths confirmed in Puerto Rico due to Maria will rise dramatically in the coming days.