Top White House official lashes out at media over coverage of Trump's Puerto Rico response

White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert on Thursday defended the Trump administration's response to the devastation that Hurricane Maria has wrought on Puerto Rico, blaming media coverage for skewing perception.

Speaking with reporters outside the White House, Bossert said the media was distorting the federal government's actions to respond to the hurricane, which made landfall last week and became the most powerful storm to hit the island in almost 90 years.

"I understand the coverage, in some cases, is giving the appearance that we aren't moving fast enough," Bossert said.

RELATED: Hurricane Maria's destruction in Puerto Rico

20 PHOTOS
Hurricane Maria's destruction in Puerto Rico
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Hurricane Maria's destruction in Puerto Rico
COROZAL, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 27: Irma Maldanado stands with Sussury her parrot and her dog in what is left of her home that was destroyed when Hurricane Maria passed through on September 27, 2017 in Corozal, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A car is viewed stuck in a flooded street in Santurce, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 21, 2017. Puerto Rico braced for potentially calamitous flash flooding on Thursday after being pummeled by Hurricane Maria which devastated the island and knocked out the entire electricity grid. The hurricane, which Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello called 'the most devastating storm in a century,' had battered the island of 3.4 million people after roaring ashore early Wednesday with deadly winds and heavy rain. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO SEPTEMBER 20: Fishing boats with severe damage at Club Nautico in the San Juan Bay. Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. San Juan September 20, 2017. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO SEPTEMBER 20: Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction across the national territory. San Juan September 20, 2017. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO SEPTEMBER 20: Trees block the streets after Hurricane Maria at Escambron Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. (Photo by Pablo Pantoja/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Men walk past damaged homes after the passage of Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 20, 2017. Maria slammed into Puerto Rico on, cutting power on most of the US territory as terrified residents hunkered down in the face of the island's worst storm in living memory. After leaving a deadly trail of destruction on a string of smaller Caribbean islands, Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico's southeast coast around daybreak, packing winds of around 150mph (240kph). / AFP PHOTO / Hector RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO SEPTEMBER 20: Trees block the streets after Hurricane Maria at Escambron Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. (Photo by Pablo Pantoja/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO SEPTEMBER 20: A local shop sustained damages after Hurricane Maria at Ponce de Leon Street in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. (Photo by Pablo Pantoja/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A man looks for valuables in the damaged house of a relative after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO SEPTEMBER 20: Trees block the streets after Hurricane Maria at Escambron Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. (Photo by Pablo Pantoja/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Damaged electrical installations are seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria en Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A man walks close to damaged houses after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Agapito Lopez looks at the damage in his house after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
TOPSHOT - A man rides his bicycle through a damaged road in Toa Alta, west of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 24, 2017 following the passage of Hurricane Maria. Authorities in Puerto Rico rushed on September 23, 2017 to evacuate people living downriver from a dam said to be in danger of collapsing because of flooding from Hurricane Maria. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 25: People sit in their apartment after the window was blown out by the winds of Hurricane Maria as it passed through the area on September 25, 2017 in San Juan Puerto Rico. Maria left widespread damage across Puerto Rico, with virtually the whole island without power or cell service. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 25: A flooded street is seen as people deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 25, 2017 in San Juan Puerto Rico. Maria left widespread damage across Puerto Rico, with virtually the whole island without power or cell service. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 25: People sit in their apartment with the window blown out by the winds of Hurricane Maria as it passed through the area last week on September 25, 2017 in San Juan Puerto Rico. Maria left widespread damage across Puerto Rico, with virtually the whole island without power or cell service. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 25: A flooded street is seen as people deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 25, 2017 in San Juan Puerto Rico. Maria left widespread damage across Puerto Rico, with virtually the whole island without power or cell service. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
An aerial photo shows damage caused by Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 27, 2017. Picture taken September 27, 2017. REUTERS/DroneBase
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He reiterated that getting resources to the island — where 3.4 million people have been left without power, and water and food are scarce — was difficult, saying there's "an understandable degree of devastation on the island."

"We are mobilizing and marshaling the resources of the United States of America in a way that is absolutely professional, fast, and adequate to meet the needs," Bossert said.

President Donald Trump has faced criticism over its response to the hurricane from Democrats and some Republicans, including Sens. John McCain and Ben Sasse.

Critics have argued that Trump was slow to publicly acknowledge the hurricane, focusing instead on his fight with NFL players protesting racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem. 

RELATED: Puerto Rico's crumbling Dam

18 PHOTOS
Puerto Rico's crumbling Dam
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Puerto Rico's crumbling Dam
An aerial view shows the damage to the Guajataca dam in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Local residents react while they look at the water flowing over the road at the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A man looks at damages on his flooded house, close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Local residents look at the flooded houses close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
An aerial view shows the damage to the Guajataca dam in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
Men stand at the roof of a house submerged by flood waters close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
An aerial view shows the damage to the Guajataca dam in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
Local residents look at water flowing over the road at the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A restaurant submerged by flood waters is seen close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
U.S. Coast Guard helicopters fly over the dam at the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A house submerged by flood waters is seen close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
An aerial view shows the damage to the Guajataca dam in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
An aerial view shows the damage to the Guajataca dam in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
Local residents use a boat to pass next to a flooded house close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
People look at water flowing over the road as a helicopter flies over them at the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
The roof of a house submerged by flood waters is seen close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
People look at the water flowing over the road at the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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After a weekend of lashing out at NFL and the NBA over a separate controversy, Trump on Monday tweeted about the crisis, highlighting the island's debts. On Tuesday, he amended a disaster declaration to make available additional emergency funding.

On Thursday, the Trump administration temporarily waived the Jones Act, a law that many lawmakers and economic experts had said was hampering the island's recovery by requiring that non-US ships carrying goods between domestic ports face steep tariffs. The law was passed after World War I as a way to protect the domestic shipping industry.

The president previously wavered on suspending the act, saying on Wednesday that "we have a lot of shippers and a lot of people who work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted, and we have a lot of ships out there now."

For his part, Trump has dismissed questions about whether he was too preoccupied to focus on hurricane relief.

"I've heard that before about was I preoccupied," Trump said. "Not at all. Not at all. I have plenty of time on my hands. All I do is work. And to be honest with you, that's an important function of working. It's called respect for our country."

Trump will travel to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands next week.

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