BOSTON (CBS) — President Donald Trump made some headlines on Thursday for sending out a pair of tweets disputing reports about the number of casualties in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who’s from Puerto Rico and headed to the island in January to provide assistance in the wake of the hurricane, was asked about the tweets when he arrived at the ballpark on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a little bit, kind of like frustrating that the topic keeps coming and coming and coming. What’s the point? Honestly, you know?” Cora told reporters. “And I respect him. He’s the president of the United States, but I don’t agree with a lot of what he says about us.”
After Trump blamed democrats for reporting a higher death toll from the September 2017 storm, Cora said he doesn’t think the matter should be viewed as a political issue.
“I hate that people are making it a political issue. It’s about human beings. The people that went through this, they know what happened,” Cora said. “Nineteen percent of our population are elderly. It’s old people, just put it that way. And the effect of September 16th, the rain and the winds and whatever happens, maybe 18 people died. But the after-effects, people don’t talk about that. You don’t have food, you don’t have water, no communication, no medicine, then this happened. And one thing for sure, the government helped. We do feel that they helped us. We don’t know if it was sufficient, that it was enough, I don’t know. The one thing for sure, the Red Sox helped, [so did] the Cubs, the Pirates, the Houston Astros, there’s a lot of people in the States that are still helping us. To be tweeting about 3,000 people and being efficient, it’s actually disrespectful for my country. We see it that way. I know probably he doesn’t feel that way.”
Cora did credit the president for making a visit to Puerto Rico after the storm.
“And I gotta say, man, thank you for helping us. He went down there, he did what he did. I hate talking about politics and all of that, but I think this is about more than politics. I think it’s about a country that really suffered,” Cora said. “We still — you see the hurricane swarming now [in the Carolinas], and everybody’s panicking. It’s not easy, but, hey, one thing is for sure and I’ve told you guys before, one thing I’m proud is we’re standing up on our own two feet. Do we need help? Yeah, we do. We know that. But we’ve been battling through it. We’re not where we were, but we will be there. And it’s just a matter of time.”
Cora, who spends time in Puerto Rico in the offseason, said many people on the island are still struggling, but he’s encouraged by the progress being made every day.
“We know a lot of people that right now are still suffering. They don’t have a roof. They have a tarp,” Cora said. “And there’s people in the country, like in the mountains, they have no water. They just found out that there was a military base in a town in the east coast, that they found I don’t know how many bottles of water, just in the runway. And it’s been there for six months. And FEMA kind of fumbled that one, from what I’ve heard.
“There’s story after story after story. It’s been a struggle,” Cora added. “But like I said, we’re better than last year, obviously. We’re better than yesterday, and we keep getting better. It’s just a matter of time for us to be that enchanted island like back in the day.”