“They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we’re going to have to wipe that out. You can say goodbye to that,” the president told Geraldo Rivera on the Fox News show “Hannity” but offering no details.
Trump’s remarks came after touring the hurricane-ravished U.S. territory. During his visit earlier that day, the president made several insensitive remarks.
According to CNBC, Puerto Rico owes nearly $70 billion—that, on top of unemployment that is 2.5 times higher than the U.S. average and a 45 percent poverty rate. The devastation from Hurricane Maria will likely accelerate the exodus of people to the mainland. Puerto Ricans were relocating because of the island’s struggling economy before the hurricane struck.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that the official death toll on the island increased to 34 from 16. Gov. Ricardo Rossello also announced that the estimated damage from Maria has reached $90 billion.
The Post said Rossello updated the figures after the visit from Trump, who was under a hail of criticism for his administration’s slow response to the natural disaster.
In his Fox News interview, the president again patted himself on the back for doing “a fantastic job” with the Puerto Rico relief effort.
Trump told Rivera that he and his administration “may have done our best work here, but it hasn’t been appreciated.”