Things got heated on “The View” this week as co-hosts Sunny Hostin and Abby Huntsman went toe to toe over President Donald Trump‘s latest response to the devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit last year.
Not only did Trump dub his administration’s response to the disaster “an incredible, unsung success,” but downplayed the tragedy by falsely claiming that 3,000 people DID NOT die in the weeks following the hurricane. In a tweet, the president disputed the revised number of excess deaths, which was upped to an estimated 2,975 from 64 following a study by George Washington University researchers.
“When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths,” Trump wrote, accusing Democrats of exaggerating the numbers to “make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico.”
Hostin, who’s half Puerto Rican, ripped the president for denying the loss of life on the island, which she said proved “he doesn’t care.”
“A true leader would offer his condolences to the people of Puerto Rico,” she began. “A true leader would offer his condolences to U.S. citizens and vow to never let something like that happen again.”
“I think these statements make him illegitimate” Hostin added, drawing raucous applause from the audience. “He’s an illegitimate president handling this situation.”
Huntsman, a newcomer to the daytime talk show, added her two cents by arguing Puerto Rico was already in bad shape before the hurricane and that Trump wasn’t solely to blame for the poor emergency response.
“Right now, you’re having the blame game,” she said. “Puerto Rico had a number of its own issues before Maria even hit. They were filing for bankruptcy, they had a power grid that was in chaos …”
Hostin quickly shut her down with the facts, noting the ways in which the United States has “pillaged and raped” the people of Puerto Rico. Huntsman shot back and criticized her co-host for likening the president to an evil dictator or Hitler.
“I think that’s too generous,” Hostin said of her dictator comment. “This president didn’t care enough. At the time this was happening, he was more concerned with NFL athletes protesting and kneeling than he was concerned about what was going on in the U.S. And when you see the president letting his own citizens die and then turn it around and saying that they didn’t really die, I think that’s very similar to the acts of a dictator. I stand by that.”
Once again the audience erupted in thunderous applause, with Huntsman growing visibly frustrated as she tried to finish her point.
“Well, it’s an easy applause line,” she replied. “That’s an extreme way to look at it.”
Watch more in the clip below.