President Trump, still facing criticism for his administration’s response to the pair of hurricanes that ravaged Puerto Rico, gave himself high marks Thursday as he met with the island’s governor, Ricardo Rossello.
“I give ourselves a 10,” Trump said.
At one point, Trump looked directly at Rossello, seated beside him in the Oval Office, and asked: “Did we do a great job?”
Rossello, on a delicate mission to secure aid for the U.S. territory, did not answer directly. “You responded immediately, sir,” Rossello said.
“The response is there,” he added. “Do we need to do a lot more? Of course we do.”
Trump has continually expressed frustration with the blame he has received for the federal government’s response in Puerto Rico, where the majority of residents lack electricity. He blamed the island for many of its problems while warning of the limits of the federal government’s commitment.
Rossello asked for equal treatment with other Americans as he talked about the long task ahead.
Trump praised the government’s “well-oiled machine” in responding to disasters affecting Texas and Florida, while pointing to corruption in Puerto Rico as hampering efforts there. “Not by the federal; this is local we’re talking about,” he added.
He also emphasized Puerto Rico’s large debt, saying that the federal government would expect to have any loans it provides for rebuilding the island paid off before other debt-holders.
–The Los Angeles Times, Noah Bierman