As the nation of Puerto Rico continues to grapple with the devastation left by Hurricane Maria, President Trump said he was “having fun” during his day-long visit to survey the damage and meet with local officials on the ground.
In a wide-ranging interview with Mike Huckabee that aired Saturday on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Mr. Trump recalled throwing paper towels and other goods into a crowd of citizens in need of supplies.
“I was having fun, they were having fun, they said ‘throw them to me, throw them to me, Mr. President,’ and so I’m doing some of them, so the next day they said, ‘oh it was so disrespectful to the people.’ It was just a made-up thing and also when they had, when I walked in the cheering was incredible.”
Mr. Trump said the cheering from the crowd was “deafening” but called negative reports of his trip “horrible unfair publicity”, even taking credit with coining the term “fake news.”
While the president said he was “very disappointed with what happened” in regards to less-than-glowing reports of his trip to Puerto Rico, he added, “the people of Puerto Rico, they got it and they really, I mean you saw the love, there was love in Puerto Rico for the fact that I went there.”
The president also touched on his frequent adversary as of late, Mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulín Cruz.
“We have a mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico who didn’t attend meetings, who didn’t work with FEMA who really did not do a very good job — in fact did a very poor job — and she was the lone voice that we saw,” said Mr. Trump.
Cruz did attend a hurricane briefing with FEMA officials during Mr. Trump’s visit. She has since further criticized the federal response to the crisis, tweeting to CBS News’ David Begnaud, “Power collapses in San Juan hospital with 4 patients now being transferred out. Have requested support from FEMA. NOTHING!”
Mr. Trump went on to claim that Cruz would be running for governor, but saying she was “not a capable person.”
On the other hand, the president praised the response by Las Vegas police to the mass shooting that left 59 people dead and hundreds more wounded — and he was apparently impressed by the gunman, as well.
“This was a sick person, but probably smart,” Trump said. “And he had cameras, but (police) got there so quickly, and they really did — and they have to be given credit.”