The Democratic mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, slammed President Donald Trump on Thursday, telling Anderson Cooper that the White House’s response to Hurricane Maria will go down in history as Trump’s own Hurricane Katrina, a storm that many say marred George W. Bush’s presidency.
“This is historic. It’s a historic failing,” said Carmen Yulin Cruz, speaking on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper Full Circle.” “This is President Trump’s Katrina.”
“For a year he has tried to spin it,” she added. “But the truth speaks louder than he ever will. He can spin it all he wants. Three thousand people died on his watch.”
The mayor went on to criticize the Trump administration’s response, calling it “structured negligence” that “allowed Puerto Ricans to die.” She also described, in detail, the troubles that have plagued the island territory since the storm began a year ago.
“It is a monumental disaster. It is a historical failure and that is what the President is going to have to live with,” she added.
Last week, Trump disputed the estimated death toll of 2,975, a number that came from a George Washington University study and reflected similar numbers from CNN’s own reporting.
“When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000 …” he tweeted.
Trump also alleged the figure was raised by Democrats “in order to make me look as bad as possible.”
There has been no evidence to indicate that partisan politics played a role in the calculation of the death tally, and George Washington University released a statement saying it stood by its work.
The new figure marked a sharp escalation from numbers released by the Puerto Rican government in December 2017, when it said 64 people died from the storm.