Puerto Rico's governor last month raised the USA territory's official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study found that the number of people who succumbed in the sweltering aftermath had been severely undercounted.
Co-host Abby Huntsman - new to the program - pushed back on Trump's remarks, saying they were "indefensible" and "out of touch", and that his response was reminiscent of the Bush administration's approach to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
President Trump praised the federal response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico Tuesday, as het met with top Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials in the Oval Office to address the looming threat of Hurricane Florence. We are ready as anybody's ever been.
A new report released August 28 estimated that 2,975 deaths were due to Hurricane Maria hitting the island. "We are sparing no expense".More news: Evacuations in USA ahead of Hurricane Florence
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As he braces for Hurricane Florence, President Donald Trump is stoking new outrage over his refusal to accept any blame for the relief effort following Puerto Rico's monster storm previous year.
In response to the president's comments, Rossello issued a statement Tuesday on "the worst natural disaster in our modern history". Puerto Rico's electrical grid, which Trump correctly says was already in bad shape before Maria landed, was knocked out by the storm. Last month, the New York Times reported that 10 trailers of food and other supplies were found rotting in a parking lot in Puerto Rico, where they were devoured by rats. "Those were not needed during the response phase and were not distributed by the governor of Puerto Rico or FEMA for that reason", FEMA deputy administrator Daniel Kaniewski told "CBS This Morning". "And you are killing us with the inefficiency and bureaucracy".
"We are hyper-focused on those seven critical lifelines because we realized previous year that if any one of those lifelines goes down, then life safety is in jeopardy. And so we're reorganizing the firepower of the federal government underneath these critical lifelines, we're pushing forward".
He added that Democrats had inflated the official death toll to "make me look as bad as possible". He was responding to a question from a reporter about what could be learned from what happened in Puerto Rico following Maria.
Last May, Harvard University public health researchers estimated the death toll was even higher.