"The next day they said, 'Oh, it was so disrespectful to the people, '" he added.
"I have no reason to dispute those numbers", Ryan added.
Having already drawn widespread criticism from members of his own party earlier this week for a claim made without evidence that the death toll was ginned up by Democrats in order to slime him, Trump once again tried to cast doubt on the estimated 2,975 killed by Hurricane Maria in the US territory.
"Everything is about him and political posturing", Cruz said.
On Wednesday, Puerto Rican officials said about 20,000 pallets of water bottles shipped to Puerto Rico after Maria went unused and became too contaminated to drink. The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching.
The White House defended the president.
"I don't want to comment on what the president said", said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who went on to ask why estimates of the dead had sharply increased over the a year ago.
"It was one of the best jobs ever done with respect to what this is all about", Trump said Tuesday at a briefing, referring to the Hurricane Maria response. "President Trump was responding to the liberal media and the San Juan Mayor who sadly, have tried to exploit the devastation by pushing out a constant stream of misinformation and false accusations".
Volvo halts production in SC as hurricane closes in
After that point, it would be hard for people in the storm's path to either finish preparations or flee affected areas. The Atlantic reports, "Since records began, only 10 major hurricanes have made landfall around the Carolinas".
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz called the president's comments "delusional, paranoid and unhinged from any sense of reality".
The death toll in Puerto Rico in the immediate aftermath of Maria grew from six to 13 by the time Trump arrived on the island.
As his team braces for Hurricane Florence to hit the U.S. east coast on Thursday (local time), Trump defended himself in the face of ongoing criticism of his administration's responses to previous hurricanes, including Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in September, 2017.
'When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths.
Disaster deaths are usually categorized as direct or indirect. "Direct" deaths include such fatalities as drownings in a storm surge or being crushed in a wind-toppled building. An estimated 1,833 people died as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, while 2,996 died immediately or from injuries sustained in the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
August 28, the government of Puerto Rico officially announced the death toll from Hurricane Maria as 2,975 making it the most severe natural disaster in the island's history.
The study from GWU says several factors led to deaths being reported long after the storm had hit.
Santos-Burgoa said the stress of the moment and confusion over how deaths were supposed to be noted contributed to an underreporting of how many died from the storm. "We are public health people".