The government of Puerto Rico acknowledged Tuesday that nearly 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last year, but that did not stop President Donald Trump from telling reporters on Wednesday that his administration “did a fantastic job” responding to the natural disaster.
"I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico. We're still helping Puerto Rico. The governor is an excellent guy and he's really happy with the job we've done," Trump told reporters.
"I think most of the people in Puerto Rico really appreciate what we’ve done," he added.
The president also said Puerto Rico’s recovery was hampered by the fact that its electric plant "was dead before the hurricane.”
Puerto Rico's government-owned utility announced earlier this month that it had restored electricity to all of its customers, nearly 11 months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
"Puerto Rico had a lot of difficulties before it got hit, and we’re straightening out those difficulties even now," he said.
Trump also returned to his previous argument that providing assistance to Puerto Rico was more difficult than states like Texas or Florida because it is an island:
"You know, Texas healed quickly and the people were incredible. Florida healed quickly and everybody worked very hard," Trump said. "Puerto Rico was actually more difficult because of the fact it’s an island, it’s much harder to get things onto the island.”
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (D) announced Tuesday that the island's government would update the official death count from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975, matching that of a study released by George Washington University.