US President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at the Muniz Air National Guard Base for a visit after Hurricane Maria hit the island on October 3, 2017 in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The President later threw out paper towels to Puerto Ricans at a church according to Reuters. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Oct. 4, 2017: U.S. President Donald Trump ventured to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico Tuesday, two weeks after the island was decimated by Hurricane Maria – not to hand out food and water but to toss paper towels.
Trump, who spent most of the time on the island touting his administration’s great response and efforts there, then proceeded to an event at a church with storm victims where he shot paper towels into the crowd according to the White House pool reporter and Reuters images.
In a country where many are struggling to obtain food, water and medicine in the aftermath of the storm, Trump also reportedly held up canned chicken breast for the crowd to see and then passed out flashlights ironically saying – “Flashlights, you don’t need them anymore. You don’t need them.”
But with more than 90 percent of the island without power and no running water, people need flashlights, batteries and lanterns more than ever.
Trump also joked that Puerto Rico was burdening the federal budget and said “our country has really gone all out to help. And it’s not only dangerous, it’s expensive, it’s everything.”
The president departed Puerto Rico about an hour ahead of time, spending just a few hours on the ground for reasons yet unclear. Trump spoke only briefly with Puerto Rico’s governor before boarding Air Force One for a return trip to D.C.
Speaking to reporters on the flight back, however, he reportedly said he only heard “thank-yous” in Puerto Rico, not any criticism on the island.
“They are so thankful for what we’ve done,” Mr. Trump said.
Asked if he’d heard any constructive criticism about the federal response to the disaster, he said, “We only heard thank-yous.”
The president said, “I know so many people from Puerto Rico that are such great people — I come from New York. But we’ve gone all out and I consider that, again, a great honor.