Politics Donald Trump Boasts Puerto Rico Should Be 'Proud' More Haven't Died Like in 'a Real Catastrophe Like Katrina' The president asked the "death count" in the wake of the hurricane, and was seemingly pleased to hear the natural disaster has claimed only 16 lives "versus in the thousands," praising the leaders, "you can be proud" By Lindsay Kimble Lindsay Kimble Lindsay Kimble is a Senior Digital News Editor and the Sports Editor for PEOPLE Digital. She's worked at PEOPLE for over seven years as a writer, reporter and editor across our Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams, covering everything from the Super Bowl to the Met Gala. She's been nominated for the ASME NEXT Awards for Journalists Under 30, and previously wrote for Us Weekly while on staff at Wenner Media. People Editorial Guidelines Published on October 3, 2017 03:18 PM Share Tweet Pin Email President Donald Trump compared the death count following 2005’s devastating Hurricane Katrina to the crisis in Puerto Rico during his visit to the island on Tuesday, noting that officials should be “proud” that not as many citizens have been killed. “Every death is horrible, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous — hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overpowering, nobody’s ever seen anything like this,” said Trump, before asking officials at a meeting with local and federal leadership how many have died since Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, leaving millions without homes and electricity. Trump was seemingly pleased to hear the natural disaster has claimed only 16 lives “versus in the thousands” lost during Katrina, praising the leaders, “you can be proud.” “You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together, ” he said. In the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane — which made landfall in the U.S. three times — a reported 1,833 people died, according to the Washington Post. Joe Raedle/Getty Images The remarks drew criticism of the president, who has already received significant backlash for his response to the crisis. RELATED VIDEO: Watch: Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Attack Also during the Tuesday meeting, Trump commented, “I hate to tell you Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that’s fine. We’ve saved a lot of lives.” Later in the day, Trump tossed paper towels to hurricane survivors at a church in Guaynabo, a moment caught on camera. Trump also distributed food products, like brown rice.