Just a few days ago, US President Donald Trump received quite a rap on social media when he posted a tweet asking hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico not to believe in fake news and stay strong. Numerous people – including reality star Kim Kardashian -- replied to the president asking him to help people instead of spending his time on social media.
And now, Trump is once again in the eye of the storm after saying that Hurricane Maria was "not a real catastrophe like Katrina" and that Puerto Rico should be "proud" of the low death toll. The US president was in the island territory to take stock of the devastation left behind by the hurricane and spoke to officials regarding the relief measures in place.
"Every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overpowering. Nobody's ever seen anything like this," Fox News quoted Trump as saying.
However, things got a bit weird when he said that officials and the island should be "proud" that not many people lost their lives.
He asked Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló how many people had died in the storm. And when he was told 16, the US president said: "Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud. Everybody around this table, and everybody watching, can really be very proud of what's taken place in Puerto Rico."
However, it was later announced that the death toll had gone up to 34.
Social media is abuzz with his comments on how the island territory must be "proud" of the death toll, with numerous people calling his remarks "disgusting" and "awful."
Trump has time and again been slammed for not taking the situation in Puerto Rico seriously and this visit too didn't seem too different. During the visit, the US president reportedly took a helicopter tour and even posed for selfies. While he was supposed to be there for four hours, he even left an hour earlier.
Meanwhile, Trump's visit to Puerto Rico evidently failed to please Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of San Juan, who had earlier lashed out at Trump for ignoring the situation on the island. Cruz had said that Puerto Rico had not received the kind of support that Texas and Florida did.
"The first part of the meeting was a public-relations situation," Cruz told CNN after the meeting. "I would hope that the president of the United States stops spouting out comments that really hurt the people of Puerto Rico, because, rather than commander in chief, he sort of becomes miscommunicator in chief."
After his visit to Puerto Rico, Trump spoke about the island's large debt and said that the amount will need to be wiped out. Puerto Rico has a debt of $72 million and filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
"They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we're going to have to wipe that out," the president said. "You're going to say goodbye to that. I don't know if it's Goldman Sachs but whoever it is you can wave goodbye to that," Trump told Fox News.
Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico in September and some areas received about 40 inches of rainfall in 24 hours. It hit the island as a category four storm and brought numerous trees and electric polls down and blew away roofs of hundreds of houses. Due to this, Puerto Rico has been left without power and the situation may remain this way for months to come.