Trump arrives in Puerto Rico - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Trump arrives in Puerto Rico

(NBC News) -

President Donald Trump is on the ground in Puerto Rico Tuesday, on a mission to reassure the island's struggling residents that he is committed to their recovery from a devastating hurricane that has tested his ability to manage natural disasters.  

One of the first people Mr. Trump met when he and his wife, Melania, touched down in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was the city's mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has repeatedly blasted trump as showing insufficient concern about the US territory's plight.

President Trump, who has grappled with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in the past six weeks, praised the federal assistance so far in Puerto Rico but said at a briefing that the disasters are straining the boundaries of the US budget.

The president shook hands with Cruz after his arrival, but he saved his warm words of praise for other local and federal authorities.

President Trump said, "If you look at - 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 -and what is your what is your death count as of this moment, 17? 16 people certified. 16 people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together. 16 versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud."

The trip offered Mr. Trump the chance to show solidarity with survivors, who are still struggling to get basic necessities, and demonstrate how his government intends to help them recover after they were hit by Maria, the worst hurricane in 90 years.

A few days earlier Mr. Trump, lashed out at Cruz on twitter for "poor leadership" on the weekend after she criticized his government's response. 

He cited "politically motivated ingrates" and said some people on the island "want everything to be done for them."

The president shook hands with Cruz after his arrival, but he saved his warm words of praise for other local and federal authorities.

"Right from the beginning, this governor did not play politics," he said of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello. 

KTIV News 4 will have the latest Live at Five.

Previous Update:
President Trump has arrived in Puerto Rico amid criticism of the federal government's response to Hurricane Maria.

The president stepped off Air Force One in San Juan alongside his wife, First Lady Melania Trump.

The president defended his administration's recovery efforts before he was scheduled to meet with local officials and victims of the storm  many of whom have been without water, electricity, housing and basic necessities.

President Trump is expected to spend more than five hours on the ground in Puerto Rico before heading back to Washington.  

Previous Update:
President Donald Trump will spend the next two days visiting Americans in crisis.

He's headed to Las Vegas Wednesday, but first Tuesday Puerto Rico. 

Today President Trump gets a first-hand look at Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. 

President Donald Trump said, "The military, FEMA, they have done an incredible job in Puerto Rico."

He's praising US aid amid a public twitter feud with San Juan's mayor. 

Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and others claim food and water aren't getting around the island fast enough. 

Rep. Enrique Melendez, the Puerto Rico House of Representatives said, "Where is the Navy? Where is the Army? We need them right now."

With 95 percent of Puerto Rico still out of power and spotty cell phone service. 

The President and the First Lady fly in today to get an update on relief efforts from the governor and military leaders and they'll meet with victims. 

Elizabeth Reyes, a mother said, "Everyone is desperate. Everyone wants water. Everyone wants something to eat."

Critics - comparing the government's response here with Texas and Florida - have put the Trump Administration on defense. 

Elaine Duke, the acting Homeland Security Secretary said, "Clearly the situation here in Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricane is not satisfactory but together we are getting there."

The White House softening its tone toward San Juan's mayor. 

President Donald Trump said,"Well, I think she's come back a long way and you know I think has now acknowledged what a great job we've done."

Puerto Rican officials say they hope one in four homes will regain power, by next month.

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