Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Trump just doubled down on a lie about Hurricane Maria's death toll

Trump just doubled down on a lie about Hurricane Maria's death toll

TRUMP DISPUTES 3,000 DEATHS IN PUERTO RICO: The president disputed the revised number of excess deaths following Hurricane Maria, and suggested Democrats released exaggerated numbers "to make me look as bad as possible"- the co-hosts weigh in.

Last month, Puerto Rico's governor raised the USA territory's official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975, after an independent study found the number of people who succumbed in the aftermath had been severely undercounted.

In a tweet, Trump said 3,000 people did not die in the storms. Trump said there were "6 to 18 deaths" shortly after the storm hit Puerto Rico in 2017.

The report came almost a year after a much-maligned visit to Puerto Rico by Trump two weeks after Maria, where he implied that residents should be "proud" that the official death toll at the time was just 16 people, far lower than that of a "real catastrophe, like Katrina". "Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000", Trump tweeted on Thursday.

Trump's tweets - which came as a highly risky Hurricane Florence churned toward the Carolinas - brought an immediate rebuke from Democrats in Congress.

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz: "The world has seen, and the majority of the American people have seen, how neglectful he was towards the people of Puerto Rico. Your lack of respect is appalling!".

That includes one report that estimated the death toll was 2,975 - a figure that the government of Puerto Rico has adopted as the official count.

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'You have people who died after the storm passed because they fell off their roof making repairs, they died in vehicle crashes because the stoplights were off, you have chainsaw accidents, you have accidents with people cleaning up debris, ' he said.

Trump visited Puerto Rico on October 3 of past year, when the death toll was estimated to be 16, comparing the storm favorably to Katrina saying "Sixteen versus in the thousands". I don't know. We will never know how many, how many we lost.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico".

"The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous".

Trump visited the island on October 3, when the death toll was listed at 16, and he congratulated the island on avoiding "a real catastrophe like Katrina".

But in late April, the local Puerto Rican General Services Administration requested the water bottles from FEMA and began giving them out in May.

Ryan added: "This was a devastating storm that hit an isolated island and that's really no one's fault". He says old people who died were "just added to the list". At the time, the government's death toll stood at 64.

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