Mulvaney contradicts Trump on debt bailout for Puerto Rico

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump board Air Force One before departing for Puerto Rico Tuesday

US President Donald Trump visited Puerto Rico to take a look of the damage caused by Hurricane Maria. One can not dismiss the severity of the damage in Puerto Rico just because there are 16 official reported deaths as of September 27.

Pledging an all-out effort to help the country, he said Puerto Rico suffered a relatively low death toll from Hurricane Maria compared with Katrina. He also shook hands with San Juan Mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, whom he had insulted a few days back.

The death toll was later revised upward to 34 casualties on the island.

The former Celebrity Apprentice host and the mayor have been feuding since last week when she criticized the Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria's devastation in Puerto Rico.

FEMA spokesman William Booher noted that the statistics remain on a website maintained by Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, which now indicates 54 percent of Puerto Ricans have access to drinking water and 9.2 percent have electricity.

The most recent shot came from Cruz, who wore a t-shirt with the word "NASTY" written on it while castigating Trump in a TV interview the day after he visited the USA territory.

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When asked about the aid efforts in Puerto Rico on Friday, Trump tried to spin the "results" the federal hurricane relief has had. Still, 95 percent of electricity customers are without power, including some hospitals, and it is said that it may take up to 10 months to fully restore service.

"I said to the president is that this is about saving lives". Speaking to Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera, he noted that the Caribbean island's "whole debt structure" needs to be looked at, adding, "You know, they owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we're going to have to wipe that out. What is really nasty is that anyone would turn their back on the Puerto Rican people" she explained in Spanish.

In an interview with MSNBC, she also said chatting with White House staff and informing them of what's happening on the island proved useful.

The bond has tumbled by more than 25 cents on the dollar since Hurricane Maria devastated the US territory last month.

And, she added, Mr Trump was sometimes more "miscommunicator in chief" than commander in chief.

Later in the day, Trump made a 20-minute visit to a church where he posed for pictures with people seeking relief supplies, and hurled paper towel rolls into the crowd.

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