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Seth Meyers Shreds President Trump Over His Hurricane Preparations And Response

Resident Mirian Medina stands on her property about two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through the island

President Donald Trump said Wednesday the government is ready for massive Hurricane Florence and insisted that his administration's response to the devastation in Puerto Rico a year ago was an "underappreciated great job".

President Donald Trump says the US government is ready for Hurricane Florence and he's rejecting criticism of the response to last year's Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where thousands of people died.

"We'll handle it. We're ready", Trump said in a video message distributed over Twitter.

In a report published last month, George Washington University researchers estimated that the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria had led to 2,975 excess deaths in the six months after the storm.

He called Maria "the worst natural disaster in our modern history" and said many people are still struggling. A recent report found that Hurricane Maria in 2017 killed almost 3,000 people in Puerto Rico after a federal response that faced heavy criticism.

"Although you don't believe it... nearly a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages", posted Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican state police agency who took the pictures. Other, independent estimates place the number at 1,270 and 5,740, with financial damages from the storm exceeding $100 billion in damage and some rural residents still lacking power.

Federal emergency officials acknowledge the water was sent in the immediate reponse to the hurricane and told CBS News they brought the water to the island and turned it over to the central government.

The revelation comes as President Trump doubled down on his administration's response to Hurricane Maria on Wednesday and lashed out at the mayor of San Juan, who has been a critic of the effort, as "incompetent".

"The safety of American people is my absolute highest priority, " Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "We are totally prepared".

None of this gives us any confidence in how Trump will respond to Hurricane Florence's landfall, which is projected to hit somewhere along the Carolina coast later this week.

The states of Virginia, North Carolina and SC haven't seen a storm of such size and intensity in 25 years or perhaps ever, Trump said.

To hasten evacuations in SC, officials reversed the flow of traffic on some highways so all major roads led away from the shore.