He has since sought to minimise the death toll.
"Trump's malignant indifference to Hurricane Maria's catastrophic impact on Puerto Rico shocks the human conscience". Compounding the situation are photos that went viral this week of millions of bottles of water FEMA that delivered in the aftermath of the disaster, that somehow never left an airport runway in Ceiba with the island's death toll now estimated at around 3,000.
He also said that "the victims nor the people of Puerto Rico deserve to have their pain questioned". That study - conducted by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University - estimated 2,975 deaths.
Repeated power cuts also led to an increased number of deaths from diabetes and sepsis.
Hurricane Maria killed 2,975 people in Puerto Rico, a long-awaited independent investigation by George Washington University into the 2017 storm concluded last month.
The politics of the Thursday-morning tweets are rough. I know he probably doesn't feel that way.
A FEMA administrator said the bottles, pictured on pallet after pallet on a Puerto Rican runway and covered in blue plastic, were deemed surplus.
"You will never take away our self respect".
Trump has previously said his administration's handling of the storms was "an incredible unsung success". "The American people - which, yes Mr. President, includes Puerto Ricans - deserve better". "This is a day where we should be focused on the people who will be affected by the hurricanes today, and it's him talking about himself a lot, and a lack of empathy and sort of a self absorption that we've seen a lot of the last two years".
What's the U.S. political reaction?
Hostin blamed the Jones Act, saying it allowed the US government to "pillage and rape" the island since its inception in 1920, before asking why Trump didn't have an equal reaction to Maria as President Obama did to Haiti, which isn't even a USA territory.
Even some Republicans suggested the president had gone too far.
She said it is a "warped-mind that would turn this statistic into "fake news", and it "may be a new low" for the president.
With both parties in Florida looking to draw support from Puerto Rican voters in the November elections and as Hurricane Florence barreled down on the Carolinas, Trump doubled down in a series of tweets Thursday after facing criticism for contending Wednesday the federal government "did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico" after Maria. "The loss of any life is tragic". He reiterated that there's no reason to dispute the numbers.
Ryan said the numbers were "a function of a devastating storm that hit an isolated island", and added, "that's no one's fault". "That's really no one's fault".
"Those are just the facts of what happens", Ryan added.
Why were 20,000 pallets of water left on a runway?
Last October, she criticised Mr Trump when the USA commander-in-chief threw paper towels to people in the crowd during a visit to Puerto Rico after the hurricane.
"And so it makes any supplies going to Puerto Rico more expensive and any supplies leaving Puerto Rico more expensive", Hostin explained about the Jones Act.
Another FEMA official had told CBS: '"If [FEMA] put that water on that runway, there will be hell to pay".
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