Photo: Win McNamee (Getty Images)

As people in the Carolinas prepare themselves for the onslaught of Hurricane Florence, Donald Trump proved that he doesn’t know what the word “success” means when he praised his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year—where an estimated 3,000 people died as a result of the storm.

The Washington Post reports that while making remarks in the Oval Office Tuesday, Trump stated that Puerto Rico had virtually no electricity before the storm began (this is false, but it illustrates the way he categorizing Puerto Rico—an actual U.S. territory) and that his administration’s response to the storm was “an incredible, unsung success.”

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His remarks were in response to reporters’ questions after he received a briefing on Hurricane Florence. He told them the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria was “one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about.”

It’s almost as if Trump lives in an alternate universe where his every failure is a success. He is completely blind to the widespread criticism of his administration’s seemingly slow and ineffective response to the storm.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in response to his comments on Tuesday, “Nearly 3,000 people died. That is not a ‘success.’ That is a tragedy and a disgrace.”

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Trump also claims that the U.S. government is “absolutely, totally prepared” for the arrival of Hurricane Florence—which is expected to bring with it devastating winds and catastrophic flooding.

“We’re ready. FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] is ready. Everybody is ready,” Trump said.

“We have everybody standing by. We hope for the best,” he said. “There’s a chance it could be a very bad one, as you’ve probably heard. . . . But we are absolutely, totally prepared.”

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In Trump speak, that could mean anything.

Later again in the Oval Office, Trump reiterated that his administration was as ready as anybody has ever been” and then warned that Florence would be “tremendously big and tremendously wet — tremendous amount of water.”

Thank you, Mr. President. You explained it to me just the way my 5-year-old nephew would. I feel better already knowing the people in North and South Carolina can depend on you at this important time.

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“The safety of the American people is my absolute highest priority. We are sparing no expense,” Trump said.

Hopefully he truly understands the meaning of “safety” and “highest priority.”