Trump to visit hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, says he is ‘very proud’ of ‘amazing’ response

Shortly after announcing plans to visit the Puerto Rico this week, President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is “very proud” of the response to the devastation left by Hurricane Maria on the island, claiming that relief efforts have been described as “amazing.”

At a joint White House press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Trump described the challenges faced by the U.S. territory in the aftermath of the storm but touted the work being done to bring “water, food and supplies” to the island.

“Everybody has said, it’s amazing the job we have done in Puerto Rico,” said Trump. “We’re very proud of it.”

On Monday, Trump faced criticism for tweeting that Puerto Rico is in “deep trouble,” highlighting the U.S. territory’s financial woes and “broken infrastructure” instead of offering support or reassurance to the victims of Maria.

“Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with,” Trump tweeted.

Trump also drew ire for focusing more on his feud with the NFL than the dire situation in Puerto Rico.

The president announced earlier in the day Tuesday his plans to visit the island next week. He explained that next Tuesday is the earliest he can visit the island because he does not want to “disrupt the relief efforts.”

“Puerto Rico is very important to me and Puerto Rico — the people are fantastic people,” Trump said from the Oval Office. “I grew up in New York so I know many people from Puerto Rico. I know many Puerto Ricans. These are good people and we have to help them. The island is devastated.”

Recovery has been slow to restore food, water and power to the island. Trump argued that part of the difficulty in getting supplies to Puerto Rico is that it’s “an island sitting in the middle of an ocean, and it’s a big ocean.”

Trump also said that the U.S. is sending “a…

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