Friday 20 July 2018

Trump throws paper towels to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico

U.S. President Donald Trump throws rolls of paper towels into a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump throws rolls of paper towels into a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump hands out cans of chicken to a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits a disaster relief distribution point at Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump throws rolls of paper towels into a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Donald Trump tossed packets of paper towels into an audience of reporters and hurricane victims at a crowded church in Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

About 200 locals gathered at the Cavalry Chapel to meet the US president.

He examined supplies lined up on tables in the church, including solar lights, tinned food, bags of rice, water bottles and paper towels as he walked the room shaking hands.

At one stage he told victims to "have a good time" and tossed paper towels into the crowd.

"There's a lot of love in this room," Mr Trump said. "Great crowd."

Mr Trump raised a few eyebrows earlier on Tuesday when he highlighted Puerto Rico's relatively low death toll compared with "a real catastrophe like Katrina" as he saw for himself the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.

Mr Trump pledged an all-out effort to help the island but added: "Now I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico. And that's fine. We've saved a lot of lives."

He said his visit was "not about me" but then praised local officials for offering kind words about the recovery effort and invited one to repeat the "nice things" she had said earlier.

U.S. President Donald Trump throws rolls of paper towels into a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump throws rolls of paper towels into a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

He also singled out Governor Ricardo Rossello for "giving us the highest praise",

"Every death is a horror," he said, "but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous, hundreds of and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here ... nobody's ever seen anything like this."

The most prominent critic in Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, attended Mr Trump's first event, in an airport hangar, shaking his hand as he went around a table greeting officials,

Days earlier, she accused the Trump administration of "killing us with the inefficiency," pleading for more effective federal leadership in the crisis.

U.S. President Donald Trump hands out cans of chicken to a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits a disaster relief distribution point at Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump hands out cans of chicken to a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits a disaster relief distribution point at Calgary Chapel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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