13:50 GMT27 February 2021
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    Finally making his much-anticipated visit to Puerto Rico Tuesday, US President Donald Trump had a few important messages for the devastated island territory. Unfortunately, they weren't all heartwarming statements of support.

    Upon arrival, Trump went around the room congratulating officials on their efforts to better the situation on the island, but when he zeroed in on Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, things went a little sour — quickly.

    ​"Mick is in charge of a thing called the budget," POTUS said of the 50-year-old Virginian. "I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack because we spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that's fine, we saved a lot of lives."

    But the commander-in-chief wasn't done. He pointed out that while what happened to the Island of Enchantment was terrible, the situation could have been much, much worse.

    Recalling the damage that Hurricane Katrina inflicted on several US states back in 2005, the presidented commented that because the island's "certified death toll" remains for the moment at a low 16, it's not a "real disaster."

    "Sixteen people certified versus in the thousands, you can be very proud of all your people, all of our people working together," Trump said. "Sixteen versus literally thousands of people, you can be very proud."

    According to FEMA, an estimated 1,833 people died following Hurricane Katrina.

    But the fun doesn't stop there. Later on in the day Trump was seen tossing out rolls of paper towels to residents as if he were trying to perfect his free throw shots.

    ​And yet, as the Oval Office occupant downplays the situation based on Puerto Rico's verified death toll so far, the true number of those killed will be much higher, according to Héctor Pesquera, Puerto Rico's Public Safety Secretary.

    "I believe there are more dead," Pesquera told the Miami Herald. "But I don't have reports telling me [that for example] eight died in Mayagüez because they lacked oxygen [or] that four died in San Pablo because they did not receive dialysis."

    Spending days on a media tour trying to get a more accurate estimate led Pesquera to conclude that the true number of victims was yet to be understood. The Herald reported that as of Monday, roughly 30 people on the island are still missing.

    There's also the matter of preventable deaths, like diabetes. Given that the island was already struggling with an economic recession and a lack of medical specialists, Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, says the number will inevitably spike.

    "There may be 10s of thousands of hardy people who survived the hurricane and are now struggling to stay alive in its aftermath," Gupta wrote Tuesday. "They are teetering on the edge, with hardly any reserve."

    Since the Category 4 hurricane struck the US territory on September 20, the majority of the island's 3.5 million residents are still without power and access to drinkable water.

    On the eve of Trump's Tuesday visit, a little more than five percent of Puerto Rico's electrical customers had service, the New York Post reported. Officials told the outlet that they could conceivably restore power to 15 percent of their customers after another two weeks.


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