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Trump says he’s taken better care of Puerto Rico than ‘any living human being’

President Trump on Thursday said that he has taken better care of Puerto Rico than “any living human being,” renewing his clash with officials on the island over his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria.

“Puerto Rico has been taken care of better by Donald Trump than by any living human being. And I think the people of Puerto Rico understand it,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for a rally in Michigan.

{mosads}He asserted that his administration had provided more disaster relief funding for Puerto Rico than for Florida or Texas, which also were hit with massive storms in late 2017.

He went on to chastise San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has been a vocal Trump critic, and cautioned Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to “spend the money wisely.”

“I’m giving them more money than they’ve ever gotten,” he said, adding that he believes he has a “great relationship” with the residents of Puerto Rico.

The president faced fresh questions about his administration’s support for the U.S. territory after he criticized Puerto Rico’s handling of previous disaster funds during a private lunch this week with Republican senators.

Those comments came on the heels of a Washington Post report that said he recently asked his top aides about limiting federal funding for the island.

Assistance for Puerto Rico has proved to be a sticking point for senators working to pass a package to provide recovery money for a recent spate of hurricanes, storms and wildfires.

Trump has stirred controversy multiple times in the roughly 18 months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico by adamantly defending his administration’s role in recovery efforts.

He has previously called the government’s response “fantastic,” an “unsung success” and graded it a “10.”

A study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government found that nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the storm. The island adopted that as the official death toll, increasing it from 64.

Trump later claimed without evidence that the numbers were inflated to make him look bad.

In the wake of Trump’s latest remarks criticizing officials on the island, Rosselló urged the president to visit the area and “stop listening to ignorant and completely wrong advice.”

“Mr. President: Enough with the insults and demeaning mischaracterizations,” Rosselló said. “We are not your political adversaries; we are your citizens.”

Tags Donald Trump Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico

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