Trump Puerto Rico response called 'horribly racist' by John Oliver

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My people in Puerto Rico thank you profoundly sir, ' he said.

"After normalcy is established", he said, "we need to get rid of the debt".

Cruz also slammed the real estate mogul for comparing the death toll in Puerto Rico to that of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Pérez Otero, the mayor of Guaynabo in Puerto Rico, argued that mayors should take more responsibility and lay less blame upon the federal government.

"What is your death count as of this moment?" he asked local officials. "17?"

"He didn't do a tremendous job in the states, but it's not quite as disturbing and horrific as his response in Puerto Rico", said Tara Blesh-Boren, 34, a registered independent from Lincoln, Nebraska.

"What's happened in terms of recovery, in terms of saving lives - 16 lives that's a lot - but if you compare that to the thousands of people who died in other hurricanes that frankly were not almost as severe", he said.

"You can be very proud", he told Rossello. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. "You can be very proud".

During his stop, Trump congratulated Puerto Ricans for avoiding a high death toll of "a real catastrophe like Katrina".

Later in the day, Trump made a 20-minute visit to a church where he posed for pictures with people seeking relief supplies, and hurled paper towel rolls into the crowd.

Over the weekend Trump fired back on Twitter.

"As they work to rebuild their lives, these families should not have to worry about their children falling behind in school", Scott said in a statement.

A number of politicians and celebrities took to social media immediately after to criticize Trump's tweets. But Cruz sat with her hands clasped and didn't clap as Trump praised FEMA Director Brock Long, Duke, White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert, Delegate Jenniffer González-Colón and others.

Widespread disasters offer presidents much to gain - or lose - politically as they try to play the role of comforter while competently leading the government's response to life-and-death issues for masses of Americans.

The economy of the United States territory, home to 3.4 million people, was already in recession and its government filed for bankruptcy in May. "Everything got destroyed. It was a concrete house and a concrete roof", said Fayetteville resident Alex Polanco.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited Puerto Rico Tuesday to meet with some of the 3.4 million people struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria. And in Puerto Rico, in particular, his criticism of local people for not doing more to help themselves has struck an off note during a time of crisis. He could theoretically pursue a federal bailout to cover the island's debts, which would require Congressional action, but that's unlikely. But US authorities were slow to accept, and after the September 7 quake Mexico revoked the offer, saying it had to concentrate on the relief effort at home.

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