Trump says Hurricane Maria death toll number was made up by Democrats

Trump says Hurricane Maria death toll number was made up by Democrats

His comments came before Trump tweeted Thursday a recent official report putting Puerto Rico's death toll from 2017's Hurricane Maria at almost 3,000, was wrong and "done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible".

The president tweeted on Thursday as Hurricane Florence bore down on the Carolinas. But Trump, whose efforts to help the island territory recover have been persistently criticized, was having none of that. When Trump finally visited the ravaged island, he left a lasting image by tossing paper towels at survivors as if they were trained seals. "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000".

The president, who is Puerto Rico's head of state, added that he "loves Puerto Rico!"

In fact, the Puerto Rico numbers were collected over months by researchers at George Washington University's school of public health, at the request of the territory's governor.

A United States government report published this month concluded that the federal response in Puerto Rico was hampered by a lack of trained staff as well as by major logistical challenges.

"Trump's denial of the official death toll from Hurricane Maria is absurd and gross", wrote conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, on his Twitter account, in response to the Trump denials. He says the process was "carried out properly". "My only consideration was the well-being of the Puerto Rican people".

In the Oval Office on Tuesday, the president praised his administration's response to the series of storms in 2017.

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The mayor of Puerto Rico's capital calls Trump "delusional, paranoid, and unhinged from any sense of reality".

"You know, 3,000, six, 18".

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides doctors with a set of recommendations for counting such deaths as those caused by natural disasters, but the guidelines were nearly never followed by Puerto Rican doctors in the chaos after the storm.

Commissioned by Puerto Rico's governor, the study found that the authorities' initial figure of 64 deaths was likely as low due to officials strictly classifying only certain deaths - such as those caused by collapsing buildings, flying debris, floods and drownings - as caused by the hurricane. President Trump defended his administration's response earlier this week, calling it an "unsung success". Full power was restored in Puerto Rico following last year's storm only last month.

No one would use such a foolish methodology except for political reasons. The inability to provide a reliable death count seemed, to many critics, to echo the dysfunction apparent in the island's lack of preparation or any swift, effective response from the local and federal governments. This is more fake news propagated by anti-Trump activists.

Republican Ron DeSantis' campaign issued a statement that said the gubernatorial candidate -- typically one of Trump's most-ardent supporters -- is "committed to standing with the Puerto Rican community, especially after such a tragic loss of life" and that he "doesn't believe any loss of life has been inflated".

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