Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Lawmaker to Trump on Puerto Rico: "3,000 Dead Americans Isn't an 'Unsung Success,' It's a National Disgrace"

"Shame on President Trump," says Congressman Adriano Espaillat. "Puerto Rico is one of Trump's most significant failures to date!"

Jessica Corbett

President Donald Trump said on national television Tuesday that the federal government's widely condemned response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico "was an incredible, unsung success." (Photo: CNN/screenshot)

This is a developing story and may be updated.

"Nearly 3,000 people died. That is not a 'success.' That is a tragedy and a disgrace."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

President Donald Trump provoked immediate outrage on Tuesday with his "disgusting" declaration on national television that the federal government's widely condemned response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria—which led to thousands of dead Americans—"was an incredible, unsung success."

"I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful," the president said. "I actually think it was one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about."

"Shame on President Trump," responded Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.). "Puerto Rico is one of Trump's most significant failures to date!"

Trump's remarks came during a briefing on Hurricane Florence, a "historic" storm that is currently charging toward Virginia and the Carolinas, forcing more than a million residents to evacuate. The backlash was swift, with critics pointing to the incredibly high death toll after the hurricane struck Puerto Rico last September.

While the initial official death toll of 64 has long been dismissed as ridiculously inaccurate, a government-commissioned study published in late August updated that number to 2,975. Previously, Harvard researchers in May estimated that between 4,645 and 5,740 people died in the U.S. territory due to the hurricane.

In response to the president's comments on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—who has criticized the Trump administration's failed recovery efforts, and introduced an aid package for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands last November—tweeted: "Nearly 3,000 people died. That is not a 'success.' That is a tragedy and a disgrace."

"3,000 dead Americans isn't an 'unsung success,' it's a national disgrace," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). "It's nothing but disrespect for the memory of those lost in Puerto Rico, torn from their homes, and all those still struggling."

"Success? Federal response according to Trump in Puerto Rico a success? If he thinks the death of 3,000 people [is] a success God help us all," San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, another vocal critic of how Trump has handled the crisis, responded in a series of tweets. "Trump simply does not get it. Thus his neglect towards Puerto Rico cost about 3,000 lives. Unfortunately, it seems he will never get it."

Attorney and CNN commentator Angela Rye told Jake Tapper on Tuesday: "It's an unsung inaccuracy, to go from 64 to make that kind of leap in thousands, not to mention the number of people and families who had to relocate completely off the island, not to mention the fact that their economy is now on life support, and electricity's not all the way functioning."

"It's far from a success," Rye continued, "and the fact that Donald Trump today would spend more time singing his own praises rather than really leaning into a conversation with people in leadership there to figure out how they can really overcome and really have a success story for this particular storm I think is very telling."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·


'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo