Washington: US President Donald Trump has defended throwing paper towels into a crowd of Puerto Ricans at a relief centre in the hurricane-ravaged territory earlier this week and lauded federal relief efforts.
"They had these beautiful, soft towels. Very good towels," Trump said in an interview that aired on Sunday on Christian television network Trinity Broadcasting.
"And I came in and there was a crowd of a lot of people. And they were screaming and they were loving everything. I was having fun, they were having fun. They said, ‘Throw 'em to me! Throw 'em to me, Mr President!'."
"So next day, they said, ‘Oh it was so disrespectful to the people.' It was just a made-up thing. And also when I walked in, the cheering was incredible," he said.
Trump previously said he received nothing but "thank yous" after his visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday. But by Wednesday, some of the territory's top officials had taken issue with some of his remarks - and the throwing of the paper towels, NBC News reported.
Trump also said he had been treated unfairly by the media over relief efforts and said his response compared to that of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
"We got really high marks on Florida, Louisiana, Texas and I think (we) did at least (just) as well in Puerto Rico, the problem is that Puerto Rico was in bad shape before the hurricanes ever got there," Trump said.
In critiquing the media's overall coverage of him, Trump also took credit for coming up with the term "fake".
"I think one of the greatest of all terms I've come up with is ‘fake'," he said.
The President also piled on to his criticism of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has been a vocal critic of his administration's response. Trump said Cruz "really did not do a very good job in fact did a very poor job".
"She was the lone voice (of criticism) that we saw and of course that's the only voice the media wanted to talk to. And she's running for governor. Big surprise," Trump said.
Updated Date: Oct 09, 2017 16:16 PM