Trump called Puerto Rico a place with 'absolutely no hope' while bungling Hurricane Maria aid efforts, book says

Trump called Puerto Rico a place with 'absolutely no hope' while bungling Hurricane Maria aid efforts, book says
Former President Donald Trump tosses a paper towel roll into a crowd of people at Calvary Chapel in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico on Oct. 3, 2017.
Former President Donald Trump tosses a paper towel roll into a crowd of people at Calvary Chapel in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico on Oct. 3, 2017.AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File
  • According to "Confidence Man," Trump was reluctant to provide Puerto Rico aid after Hurricane Maria.

  • Trump called the island a place with "absolutely no hope," New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote.

  • Videos of Trump throwing paper towels intro crowds in the commonwealth went viral at the time.

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, President Donald Trump was slow to support adequate disaster aid and suggested the island wasn't part of the United States.

Trump called Puerto Rico a place with "absolutely no hope," New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote in her new book, "Confidence Man."

Haberman wrote that Trump viewed it as a "distressed property."

In order to get the former president on board with providing aid to the island, whose residents were without power or water for months, his team learned to frame it on a "personal level," so he would show interest, Haberman wrote. Trump told top aides that he didn't want "a single dollar" going to Puerto Rico hurricane relief, The Washington Post reported in 2019.

When visiting Puerto Rico to assess damages following the storm, Trump was criticized for tossing paper towels into a crowd filled with hurricane victims and reporters, telling them to "have a good time" and that they were a "good crowd."

 

Trump said in a meeting with officials working on the response to Hurricane Maria that the number of deaths, which reached over 3,000, as a result of the deadly storm were far lower than those of a "real catastrophe," like Hurricane Katrina which devastated Louisiana in 2005 and killed about 1,800 people. Hurricane Maria was the deadliest natural disaster in the US in over a century.

Despite criticism, Trump called his efforts in response to the hurricane in Puerto Rico an "incredible, unsung success" and "one of the best jobs that has ever been done."

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