President Trump compares Puerto Rico to Katrina

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on President Donald Trump and Puerto Rico (all times local):
1:50 p.m.
President Donald Trump says Puerto Rico suffered a relatively low death toll from Hurricane Maria compared with "a real catastrophe like Katrina," which killed more than a thousand people in 2005.
Trump spoke as he toured the island Tuesday. He pledged an all-out effort to help Puerto Rico.
The president said that while "every death is a horror," he drew a distinction between "a real catastrophe like Katrina" and "what happened here" in Puerto Rico, where at least 16 people died.
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1:50 p.m.
President Donald Trump says Puerto Rico's electrical power, virtually knocked out by Hurricane Maria, is headed toward flickering on again.
"It's being fixed" he told reporters Tuesday during his first visit to the island. He added that the power grid was "devastated before the hurricanes even hit."
He said lots of generators have been brought to the island and most hospitals are at least partially open.
Trump said "The job that's been done here is really nothing short of a miracle."
He has come under fire for what critics said was a slow response to the devastation. Maria wiped out power to Puerto Rico's 3.4 million people and left them short of food, water and supplies.
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1:50 p.m.
President Donald Trump has handed out supplies at a church in Puerto Rico.
About 200 local residents are at Calvary Chapel, cheering Trump as he walks in. Tables nearby were lined with supplies that included paper towels, bags of rice. Candybars, water bottles.
The president shook hands and handed people flashlights. A few times, he tossed paper towel rolls into the crowd.
Surrounded by a sea of cellphone cameras, Trump said, "There's a lot of love in this room." He called those in attendance, "Great people."
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1:10 p.m.
President Donald Trump is touring the storm damage of San Juan and hearing the stories of residents still recovering from Hurricane Maria.
The president is visiting neighborhoods and has told one resident that the governor and the mayor are "doing a good job."
Recently, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz criticized the pace of the federal government's response and drew Trump's scorn.
The president's visit included meetings with her and other local officials. As he left the airport, the president's motorcade snaked through streets lined with downed tree limbs, mangled signs and drooping power lines. A beach was covered in debris.
Scattered groups of people gathered to watch the motorcade pass. One held a sign reading, "Climate change is real." Another's said: "You are a bad hombre."
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12:20 p.m.
President Donald Trump is pledging to help Puerto Rico continue to recover from Hurricane Maria's devastation. He is defending his administration's handling of the disaster that knocked out power to the U.S. island's 3.4 million people.
In an airport hangar in Puerto Rico, Trump also sought praise from local officials. He repeated that they have to help with the recovery and scolded them for the costs of disaster recovery. Trump said, "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."
Trump's visit comes after what critics have said was a slow response.
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11:50 a.m.
President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, have arrived in storm-damaged Puerto Rico.
The first couple is visiting Tuesday to review the U.S. island's recovery from Hurricane Maria, which blew ashore Sept. 20. They are meeting with local and federal officials working to restore power and deliver food and supplies to Puerto Rico's 3.4 million people.
Trump's visit comes after what critics have said was a too-slow response to the crisis on the island. The president said Tuesday that local "have to give us more help" in responding to the devastation. Trump on Tuesday praised the federal response, saying, "it's now acknowledged what a great job we've done."



 
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