Other disasters over the years since Hurricane Katrina have served as unpleasant reminders of that terrible time, but this year has brought more than its share. "We'll worry about the big decisions later; that's the president's point".
She appeared on national TV and called the devastation on Puerto Rico a "humanitarian crisis". Residents at the time were still recovering from the powerful Hurricane Irma two weeks earlier that had unleashed heavy rain and high winds.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Thousands of Puerto Ricans were finally getting water and food rations Friday as an aid bottleneck began to ease, but many remained cut off from the basic necessities of life and were desperate for power, communications and other trappings of normality in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
In defending the federal response, administration officials told reporters Thursday that food, water and other necessary supplies have already been delivered to the US territory.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke made the comment Thursday in the White House driveway, adding that "the relief effort is under control". "But it has been a limitation on logistics and as soon as we get those assets we are going to put them on the ground". "We have expanded greatly; probably 90 percent of the island is accessible now".
"When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good-news story", Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN on Friday.
Thursday, Duke stirred controversy when referring to the government's response in Puerto Rico as a "good news story".
"I would ask her to come down here and visit the towns and then make a statement like that", said the mayor. "When you have to pull people down from their buildings - I'm sorry, but that really upsets me and frustrates me".
"Well maybe from where she's standing it's a good news story", Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN as Mrs Duke was preparing to board a plane for Puerto Rico, a United States island territory.
Duke was speaking to reporters on the tarmac in San Juan before boarding a helicopter for an aerial look at the devastation.
"You see us getting to critical infrastructure, such as FAA towers", said Lt. Col. Marcus Mainz.
FEMA, which is leading the relief effort, has sent 150 containers filled with relief supplies to the port of San Juan since the hurricane struck on September 20, said Omar Negron, director of Puerto Rico's Ports Authority. After the tour, she was set to hold a meeting with the governor of Puerto Rico and officials.
Bush famously told his emergency management director, Michael Brown, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job" during what proved to be a tragically inept federal response to deadly Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"The federal response has been very slow and uncoordinated", said Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), a ranking member of the subcommittee on maritime transportation.